These are pictures of Daddy's daddy -- we called him Papa -- with Russell (from left), Stephen and me a week before Christmas, 1970. Papa, as the writing on the back of the picture says, had brought an old electric train of Daddy's to our house in Grifton, N.C. In these pictures he was putting it together for us and showing us how it worked. I can remember the humming sound and the smell of that track and the trains when we would turn the dial up on the power control.
Papa was our first grandparent to die. I was old enough to remember some things about him clearly, but not old enough to have gotten to know him very well. I do know he had a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer clock and a picture of a topless Marilyn Monroe hanging side-by-side on the wall of a TV repair shop he ran as a side business. I also know he loved golf, put salt in his beer and called Daddy 'Butch' for some reason. He also loved my Mama. Seeing these train pictures reminded me of some train video I shot a few weeks ago. This is of a maintenance crew dumping gravel along the tracks. If you watch it carefully, you can see the gravel spilling out of the railroad car.