By Bob Comeans
There were thirteen of us, all named Jim, even the girls.
It just made it easier for Grandpa.
Thirteen cousins, Jim, Joe, Jerry, Jeff, Judy, Jim, Joe, Jeff, Jerry, Bob, Mike, Bill, Kathleen. Lot of J names there. It just kind of ran that way in a couple of the families.
Who could really keep track of all those names anyway?
Grandpa was a working man. The kind of man who could wear out an anvil with a rubber hammer, and those poor, “beat to heck” hands of his proved it.
Every Friday night, after busting his tail for 40-50 years making axe handles, Grandpa made his stops. Candy, peanuts, and Southern Comfort. Grandma and the family got the good stuff. Grandpa got the whiskey.
Weekends were visiting times. We’d all pile in the cars and head straight to Grandma and Grandpa’s for some family time together. By the time we got there, Grandpa would be drinking straight from the bottle. Don’t think he ever used a glass or mixes. Got you there quicker I guess.
There’d be all of us kids playing, running around, acting crazy inside and out, just waiting for dinner to show up on the table, usually fried chicken. All that, and Grandpa walking around unshaved, shirt half unbuttoned, pretty well snockered, wondering who was who.
Well, he finally figured it out,
“All them dang kids, I’ll just call ’em Jim,” and he did.
That was our names, from the time we were little, to the time when Grandpa passed. I was Jim, and so were my two brothers and sister, all my cousins too, Jim.
Nobody much minded, and we all usually answered when he called over to us. Of course, by then, thirteen small heads would turn as one. It got a little confusing sometimes, but we could live with it.
Grandpa was a good man, in spite of the whiskey. He’d be back to work on Monday morning and he quit drinking, cold turkey, when Grandma had her stroke and really needed him.
I miss our long talks about current events, watching him hand roll a cigarette, and eating a baked potato together.
I can never forget, and my wife always wondered…
I got a younger brother, and he calls me Jim.