They said he cried. It was hard to believe, but I chalked it up to him being on a drunk. He’d been living with his youngest daughter and her husband. I was glad he wasn’t living with us.

My aunt didn’t have any kids, which made her home suit my grandpa a whole lot better. Not to mention, alcohol wasn’t allowed in our, my mom and dad’s, house. I didn’t know it at the time, but that ruled our grandpa staying with us, after my grandma passed, out of the question.

Grandpa bounced around a bit. He stayed with a select few of his nine kids, on and off, daughters only. His drinkin’ and lifestyle would eventually wear on his daughters patience, even the drinkin’ one.

Retirement didn’t suit grandpa. So, eventually, he drifted back to the place he’d cussed and cursed all his life. Back to the place he’d blamed all of his ills on; the cotton field.

Sometime toward the end of his golden years he did his last stint with his youngest daughter; my aunt Sharon. The family figured that if anyone could handle Troy, it would be Sharon. She was tough as nails and twice as sharp. Sharon was the type of woman who could make a seasoned sailor blush. Her scowl was scarier than a rattlesnake.

on a drunk

my brother, grandpa holding my brother’s oldest, and my dad… 4 generations.

Troy didn’t like people and tolerated family. His Cherokee brown eyes burned at the edges in golden flames when he was on a cuss laced rant about the numerous subjects that didn’t square with his world. That’s where Sharon learned it… I thought.

Troy wasn’t a gentle man. he was hard to the core. He didn’t show emotion often and when he did it was after he’d been drinkin’. That’s how we knew he loved music. Music and booze. That’s what he loved for sure.

I didn’t mind hearing Troy blow a hurricane through his harmonica as he stomped the earth in time. But I never knew my dad’s dad was a writer until I found out about the night he cried.

My hot-headed aunt, who was a chip off the ole block, was fed up with her dad’s drinkin’ and coming home late. She threw Troy’s belongings, that fit into an old suitcase and a couple of garbage bags, out into the front yard.

It was a rare Southwest desert night with the type of winds that made tumbleweeds famous and a rain that rivaled Noah’s. The wind and rain stole and or destroyed Troy’s writings. He slumped in my aunt’s front yard and cried. Someone told me some of his songs were ones he’d written for my grandma.

That was one of those rare moments to glimpse the soft side of a hard man.

Funny how people choose to see in themselves what they want…

Even when I was violent, impatient, angry and mad dog mean, I never considered my grandpa’s genes. They skipped a generation, you can ask my brothers and sister. I guess that’s one of the reasons we can be blinded to our own shortcomings. That, and not seeking wisdom from God.

A loved one destroyed a piece of Troy, even if he was on a drunk, maybe the best part of him. I get why he cried… now.