My grandpa Snook was an old car hustler, he had never worked for anyone but himself. He bought and fixed up every type of car, truck, motorcycle, RV and even lawnmowers, anything that could be fixed and sold. My grandmother had passed away a year ago after working for General Electric her entire life and this had left my grandpa in a state of gloom. He had started to drink and smoke again and seemed lost as to why or how he would go on without grandma.
I would go over and we would sit out on the porch under the trees and drink Papst Blue Ribbon beer and smoke cigarettes. Later we would go to his favorite restaurant; Leon's which was an African American restaurant that he really enjoyed. This day I had a favor to ask, I needed to go to Virginia for a court case and wanted to know if he would take me. He agreed if I paid for the gas and did the driving, to which I said "yes," we would leave in the morning.
He said we would take the dodge truck with the topper over the bed, to him it was a good truck and should get us there on time. As agreed I did the driving but before we started out he spilled his coffee all over himself which to me was a disaster, but he just shrugged it off and said "let's go." Gramps was so easy going that I had never seen him upset in all my years around him, to him it was live and let live. To me it seemed as if the trip had already started out with an accident with grandpa all full of coffee. We drove through Indiana looking at the corn fields and talking and smoking, things looked good until somewhere in Ohio the seat belt bit into my shoulder. As I struggled with all the stuff between us I reached up to make some room and grabbed what felt like a pistol. I took it out and screamed at grandpa "what the hell is this?" It was the biggest pistol I had ever seen, something right out of Dirty Harry. Grandpa just said "take it easy boy just give me my girl." I was already in enough trouble what if we were pulled over?
Within a few hours we were in the foothills of the Appalachians, once on top we could see the trees for miles with all different color leaves, here grandpa wanted to stop and we did. I had never been interested in trees and the color of the leaves but even for me this was awesome. We stayed for a while but it was getting dark and it started to snow. The roads were very slick and I had a hard time driving so we pulled into a motel at the bottom of a very steep mountain. We ate and went to bed, in the morning I got up and told grandpa to shower so we could be of. I took a long shower and when I got out to dry myself the room seemed to be frozen. Grandpa had opened the door and was lying in bed with only his briefs on which were so loose that you didn't have to look to close to see everything. People are walking by and I said "grandpa what are you doing?" He said, "I got hot so I let in some air." I said, "Grandpa there is a lady walking by and you're in your underwear." He just said, "Don't get so excited I will close the door," as he gets up to close the door I realize he was in his briefs so I got up to close the door and the cleaning lady comes by and looks in the room, all I could do was smile.
We drove into Virginia where we got a nice motel room with an inside pool, I had an appointment with an attorney that afternoon and court in the morning. The lawyer explained that he had worked out a deal for a suspended sentence and 4 years' probation. It sounded good to me but Grandpa speaks up and said it was a bad deal, I told the lawyer to go on with the deal and tried to explain it to Grandpa but he wasn't hearing it. He didn't like the lawyer but said it was my life, so we were off to dinner.
Grandpa had always embarrassed me with waitresses so I thought he would be acting up at Hooters where we went. He had said that I could pick any place and I picked Hooters but this time he just ate and we left. I believe it was the death of grandma that had affected him so much and taken a lot out of him. We went to sleep anticipating a long day at the court house.
Next morning we enter the court house and I'm very nervous as we pass the metal detectors, we take our seats and there are two people in front of me to see the judge. The first one comes up and the judge rejects the plea agreement and sends him to prison, the second man comes before the judge and he to gets prison. This makes me really nervous plus I don't see my lawyer. Things are looking bad for me so I look over to grandpa to see how he is doing. As God is my witness grandpa is picking his finger nails with a pocket knife. I whispered "how did you get that through the metal detector?" He said, "I just walked it in." I said "put that thing up." He looked at me and said, "Don't get so excited." And put it away.
My lawyer finely gets in and we approach the judge who agrees to the 4 years of probation and a suspended sentence. We spend the next 4 hours at the probation office working out the details and when that is done we hit the highway for Illinois again. Grandpa wanted to buy some cigarettes which are cheaper in North Carolina so he could make a few dollars in Illinois so we drove over and got the cigarettes. While trying to leave the state a car trying to switch lanes scrapes the old Dodge and comes to a stop. Grandpa jumps out of the truck and tells me he will take care of this, the man offers him 200 dollars for the damage but Grandpa holds out for 400 and gets it, which makes him smile.
I drove all night and reached home by morning without any other problems. Sometime later I was in trouble again and this time went to prison. While their Grandpa passed away, he had loved Grandma more than life; I guess they are finally together and he has found his peace.
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