Grandpa Parrish was a farming man. When I was little they lived on a farm where you could still see the old farmhouse that was back by the barns. Once he took me in his truck back with him to see the farm animals and even though I knew grandpa was a pig farmer (excuse me, "hog farmer") I was surprised to find him tending sheep. Sheep? Where'd these come from and what was their role in the life of a pig? I have no idea.
Fast forward a few years, the family pork producing business was left in the hands of my uncle and grandma and grandpa moved into town and settled into a nice ranch style home.
I remember when they moved in, I thought it was quite the grand house for a farmer and his wife to be living in. A paved driveway. An automatic garage door opener. TWO bathrooms (one of which was a total man-bathroom complete with urinal and stand-up shower, the other was ultra-feminine for grandma and guests). THREE bedrooms - I didn't understand why they needed three bedrooms when it was just the two of them and one of my uncles living in the house. But the extra bedroom was handy when we would get to sleep over. The living room and dining room each had accordion style doors that pulled out of the doorframe, which my brother and I found useful for when we would perform little concerts for our grandparents.
I have many memories of spending time there and having to watch The Lawrence Welk show, Hee-Haw, and Big-10 sports. Lots of little "parties" that grandma thought to have while we watched tv that included 7-Up in little champagne glasses, crackers and cheese slices. I also remember having my first sip (it was only a sip, don't call child protective services!) of real champagne.
Grandpa had his own sense of style - many times we'd come in the house to find him sitting in his big overstuffed recliner in the plaid pants of the 1970's, with a completely different plaid style of the 80's. It hurt to look at it was so horrid. But it was grandpa. Of course it was also just like grandpa to make a run from his bedroom on one end of the house, dressed only in his boxer shorts as he raced to the other end of the house to take a shower in the "man-bathroom", yelling the whole way..."Show and Tell! Show and Tell! Show and Tell!" Grandma would be grumpin' at him to "Stop that Paul, that's not the kind of thing you should be doin' in front of the kids!" and he'd laugh back at her, simply saying "Oh Bessie...."
If you had the honor of ever having a conversation with my grandfather, you know the kind of man that he was and what a privilege it was to know him. He knew many people throughout the country, in AND out of the hog business, and he always greeted each one with a hearty handshake, a smile and would remember a story from when you had met before.
But that's just the kind-of guy that he was.