Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Little Winegar

No, not vinegar, if you read that a bit too fast. It's Winegar, my Grandma Rice's maiden name. Grandmas can do or say anything and still remain magical. And thank goodness for that!

I used to meander over to her house next door every day to visit, sometimes more than once. It was a good setup. She never got tired of telling stories and I never got tired of hearing them. One was the story about her brother, Clarence, and the pig thing. She also told me about some Roman cows her dad (William Wesley Winegar) had. I knew about Holsteins, Herefords, Charolais, Jerseys, Angus, and even Texas Longhorn cows and could name the four stomachs of a cow (still can), but it took me sometime to realize she was talking about some roamin' cows her dad had; the rest of the story escapes me.

Another great tale Grandma told was Episode 2 of My Brother Clarence. I'm not really sure which grandpa it was who provided Clarence with enough weapons to be a contestant on Top Shot, but good old Grandpa-What's-His-Name gave Clarence a BB gun when he was about eight or ten. I'm guessing it was sometime after the knife episode. That would mean Grandma was about six or eight.

Grandpa Winegar had a colorful prize rooster. One day when their dad was gone, Clarence brought out his new BB gun and challenged Grandma to shoot the rooster. She knew she couldn't possibly hit it, and to keep him from any other creative ideas, she just raised the rifle and made a random shot. They both saw the rooster do a big back flip and nosedive into the field. (Neither of them had realized they were related to Annie Oakley.)

Clarence was speechless at first, as was Grandma, until he had her make a pact to never ever say a word about it to anyone! She immediately agreed and told me that they never mentioned it during his lifetime. But she does recall her dad saying over and over: "I wonder where my prize rooster went!"

I don't recall the full story but she did say that one time she had a deep cut from a scythe (this is where Clarence would get the blame whether he did it or not). She said it was bleeding a lot. She had an uncle there who was a tobacco chewer. He spit out a big blob and slapped it on her finger and told her to leave it there. Apparently, it's true that the same thing that can eat your lip and throat away with cancer can also cure cuts. Maybe it has to do with timing. She became a believer, but as far as I knew, she never took up chewing tobacco.

She told of how the kids in the family would spend early summer hours out in the garden picking raspberries which their dad would then drive down from Farmington to Bountiful or Salt Lake to sell midday. The kids would get paid 1 cent for every basket full they picked, the same price my sibs and I got for cleaning off eggs to take to the Preston Co-op to sell or trade. So much for inflation.

Another thing about Grandma Rice. She was a World Class Worry Wart. She would call to see if we could get her some items when we went up to the store. We said yes and walked over to get the list and her purse with the little clasp. She had all the items written on a note inside the purse. She would remove the list and walk through it item by item just so there was no mistake. As soon as we would get back to our house, she would be on the phone seeing if we had arrived and have us read back the list to her. It was way annoying, but such is life.

Love you Grandma. You taught me everything I know about newspapers and vinegar.

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