I want to write about my grandmother, yet I keep thinking of things about my grandfather that I need to get down.
Doodlebug, doodlebug, your house is on fire. Doodlebug, doodlebug, your house is on fire. There was soft, red dirt and a million pocks all along the edges of my grandfather's carport. He told me that doodlebugs lived there. Their names imply that they are much cuter than the reality of them. He showed me that if I swirled a thin stick or thick twig in one of those holes and sang the rhyme, the doodlebug would grab on and I could pull him out. I loved pulling them out and watching them scoot back down under the fine dirt.
My grandfather built me a swimming pool in his backyard. It was half the size of the bed of a truck. He dug it, poured concrete, laid the edge with bricks. He stuck a short length of old garden hose in the drain and fashioned a plug out of a hunk of wood. It was rough on my knees and elbows - not the least bit comfortable. I'd suit up and alternately sit or lay on my belly in it, watching him work in the garden or staring at the white clouds float through the blue sky. When I was too old for it, he used it to keep small branches he pruned from trees until they dried out enough to burn them. And after that, he broke up the concrete, filled it in with dirt and reclaimed his yard.
He always kept scraps. Scraps of metal, scraps of wood, the same way my grandmother kept scraps of fabric to make quilts. You know, they reused everything they could. Out of his scrap wood, my grandfather made me a playhouse. It had one door and one window. My grandmother made curtains for each. He never asked if I wanted him to do things like this for me. He'd just get an idea, make it and not even tell me about it - all of a sudden, there was a playhouse in the backyard. He was an excellent granddaddy.