It would be impossible to hand pick a better, more
special Grandpa. He was the epitome of love, warmth, and
laughter. He told marvelous, mysterious, long-ago stories.
About breaking horses, driving a car for the very first
and last time. About dogs -- in particular, "Old Cotton".
The ranch. Moving to the city of Bozeman. The heartbreak
of losing a beautiful beloved daughter -- and how she, a
free spirit, had made him proud. He marveled at her crazy
antics, her dedication to the nursing profession. And her
final recognition of her own impending death.
This "Grandpa", William Asbury Fletcher, is one of my
first memories. He played hide and seek, gave back rides,
warmth, love. I remember his touch and his distinct "scent"
-- a blend of pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco (which could
only be spit out the front door), shaving lotion, and a
"tired hat". This tired hat, a part of his wardrobe Grandma
was always trying to replace -- but to no avail. He
would always retrieve it from wherever. His reprimand, an
"Oh, Will!". He wore long underwear at all times -- even
on the hottest of days, a carry-over from the ranch.
He walked miles at an old age just so he could take me
to the beach. Once there, he would sit for hours watching
me bounce around, screaming, "Grandpa, watch this", while
he got hot and, I'm sure, bored.
He introduced me to the beach, shrimp on the pier,
love. He did love me. I felt it and knew it from the beginning.
What a gift! That love was and is returned.
The refrigerator where he kept a bottle of Gordon's
Gin -- rarely touched, but when it was it consisted of a
big swig, a slight shudder, and a very loud "hot damn!".
Candied orange slices for grandchildren, which I never
really cared for but he never know.
The habit of rising with the chickens. "Funny" eating
habits like cold cereal with unsweetened cocoa. Holding
the salt shaker high above his food for long seconds.
Shocking me by eating things like brain and tongue.
Taking me places. The amusement park in Long Beach
called the "Pike" where he would join me on all the rides.
Watering and caring for his lawn. Sitting on the ground
underneath his prized Weeping Willow tree in the early
morning listening to the "old days". Sharing in his real
tears and great, great laughter.
These are things that come to mind about Grandpa. If
I were a writer, this would all flow so cleverly. But, I'm
not. I am a 39-year old granddaughter of William Asbury
Fletcher, Jr. and I absolutely adored the man.
By Carol Marie Fletcher Buljan
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