When I was growing up, I was considered by my family to be the pet pig. This was because I was the baby of the bunch, and for 12 years I remained that. During this time, I was doted on and given free reign of the place, and I got by with a lot more than I probably should have.
Me at age 2. Those pants prove I was at the height of fashion.
I’m pretty sure that I was my granddaddy’s favorite grandchild, and I could get anything out of him or do anything and it’d be just fine. He was so proud of me, he’d tell people, “That boy can drive hen shit to gunpowder.” That’s how good I was.
Now this isn’t to say that the other kids, including my brother who is only 18 months older than I am, were slighted in any way, I’m just saying that I got by with more than my fair share because of my pet pig status.
I remember one time when we lived on the farm, I got a BB gun for my birthday. I was out playing in the side yard and my brother was in the upstairs window, making faces at me. He apparently thought he would be safe from my vengeance, but I proved him wrong when I shot at him through the window. He dodged to the side, but I waited until he poked his head back in front of the window to see if I was still outside. When he did, I fired again, and just like that, another windowpane bit the dust. This continued until I had shot every windowlight out of that upstairs bedroom. As soon as I’d shot out the last one, Jason hollered out, “Mom…Matthew’s outside shooting out the upstairs windows with his BB gun.”
Mom then came outside and investigated the situation and took my BB gun away, and told me I was going to have to pay for those windows, and she was taking by $2 allowance to do so. It wasn’t but maybe a half hour later, and after a long talk with my granddad, that I got back my BB gun. He also gave me $2 and told me not to shoot out anymore windows...and not to tell mother about the money!
Me, my Granddad and my Uncle Tom in 1986. Notice my beaver-teeth pose!
I remember how I used to stay overnight with my granddad and we’d go riding around in his huge red International station wagon named “Belvedere”. Belvedere had a front seat, a back seat and an enormous back end that usually was filled with kids and chainsaws. I know those two don’t mix, but I remember always hating to have to find a seat bakc there so you wasn’t riding up against a chainsaw chain.
One time, when I was about 5 years old, just me and my granddad was coming back from Riverton in Belvedere (by now you’ve probably realized I never missed a trip to the store). At that time, I only knew my numbers up to 100, but the speedometer in Belvedere registered up to 120 miles per hour, so of course I wanted my granddad to sink the needle in the straight stretch going out through Germany Valley so I could see it. However, since I didn't know how to say, “a hundred and twenty”, I instead said to my granddad what I knew, “Go Twelve-O, granddaddy, go twelve-O!”
Well, Belvedere might have registered 120 mph, but it certainly couldn’t go that fast, looking back I doubt that it could have went 120 mph if it was falling straight down a well. Granddad used to have a saying about how much power Belvedere had, he would say “This ol' car couldn’t pull a sick woman off of a shitpot”. I believe that says all you ever need to know about Belvedere!!
Let’s suffice it to say that Belvedere never did go “Twelve-O”.