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George

My mother had 5 sons, and 1 daughter (me).  Every time a son was born, my grandfather, George Smith, would come visit and say “that’s a fine lookin boy, what are you going to name him?”  On the fourth son, my mother finally got it right and said “George”, which made my grandfather very happy.  So, she named him George and then decided to call him by his middle name, Steve.  I’m not sure how my grandfather felt about this.

My grandfather was a great big man (but then isn’t everyone when you are little).  My brother, Steve, and I would sit on his lap while he smoked his cigar and try and poke our fingers through the smoke rings before they disappeared.  After he finished his cigar, he’d read us stories.  My favorite as a child was “Little Black Sambo” – can you imagine??? All I remember about the story is that a tiger ran around and around a tree and made butter. 

Every year my grandfather planted a big garden in his back yard.  We’d walk up and down the rows, pick peas, break open the pods, and eat the peas right in the garden.  Before lunch, we’d find the perfect tomato and a cucumber.  Still warm from the sun, we’d slice the tomato for cucumber and tomato sandwiches with mayo, salt and pepper, on toasted white bread.

Being an urbanite, I don’t have space for a garden … but my friend Laurie does.  When I stop by for coffee, we venture into her garden and pick what ever is ripe.  Whenever I visit, it takes me back to my grandfather’s garden, picking peas and eating tomato sandwiches.

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