Monday, December 3, 2007

Things in My House, Part 3: Work, the Curse of the Drinking Class (and 5 favorite gifts meme)

This is 2 posts in one; a continuation of my series on things in my house, and 5 Favorite Gifts, for which I was tagged by Ms. Fran . This little sign happens to be one of my five favorite gifts, listed here in no particular order:

1. The sign. The silk cord that it used to hang from broke, so now it's sitting on top of another picture in my kitchen. My grandfather, who died in 1994, was a man who liked his hooch (he also very much liked the word "hooch"). He had a little bar in his basement (where he also had collections...of guns, of plaques from ships he helped build during his 30-year career at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, of WWII memorabilia, including his Silver Star) and the hooch and highballs flowed freely every evening. I have many fond memories of sitting at a macrame-seat barstool with a Shirley Temple and some pretzels, listening to my grandfather talk. Don't get the idea that this was kindly Grandpa Walton grandfather talk, either...he was one of the most profane men who ever lived, and he didn't self-censor for the benefit of the grandchildren. This was one of the reasons we loved to hang out down there...who knew what kind of new words you'd hear after Granddad had a few drinks. This sign was among many little plaques and trinkets that decorated the bar, and I always liked it when I was little. I liked it even better when I was in 7th grade or so...we were learning about Prohibition and the Temperance movement, and our textbook had a picture of a Women's Christian Temperance Union demonstration. The women were holding picket signs that read "Drink! The Curse of the Working Class!" (the clever reversal of this slogan pictured on the sign is generally credited to Oscar Wilde...just one more reason to love him). It's fun to finally get the joke. My grandmother gift-wrapped this sign and gave it to me for my 29th birthday, right after my grandfather's death. It's been displayed in every place I've lived since then.

And as I've noted before, Work really IS the Curse of the Drinking Class, isn't it?

2. While we're on the subject of my grandfather, another favorite gift was on my 21st birthday. My grandparents gave me a sweater or something, but my GRANDFATHER gave me a bottle of Dom and a $100 dollar bill, which he ordered me to waste. This was the only time I got a separate gift from my grandfather. It was the best gift I got for that birthday, and one of my favorite gifts ever. Soon after, I was visiting my grandparents. When I went to the basement to see my grandfather (if he wasn't asleep or eating a meal, he was in his basement), he OFFERED ME A DRINK. Awesome (and nothing like getting a buzz on with your grandfather).

3. I have several things angel-themed things...a small plaster figurine, a very beautiful clock, a silver necklace with a tiny angel pendant...all of which were given to me by friends after a horrible event, which I'll probably write about eventually. I still wear the necklace pretty often and the clock hangs in my kitchen (it's the one my husband complained about here, and I'll probably add it to the series.)

4. A pair of small hinged hoop earrings, brushed white gold with a diamond. They're very simple, almost industrial-looking, and were exactly what I would have picked for myself. My husband gave them to me when we were engaged, after a fight that was bad enough that I handed the ring back to him. I'm not a dramatic person, so he knew I was serious. We've never had another fight like that, and I wear the earrings almost every day.

5. Every single picture, flower, seashell, rock, leaf and Lego construction my children have ever given me.

I can still think of many gifts I've received that I've really loved, so I'm lucky. I'm tagging whoever wishes to do this one...I just tagged a bunch of people on Monday, so I don't want to wear out my proverbial welcome. Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Your grandfather sounds very cool. I knew way more guys like him than that fantasy grandpa that the media portrays. How lucky you were to have him set a good example of how to enjoy life.

FranIAm said...

Ok, crying now. Sheesh woman- not only do you have a great story, you have the skills to tell it so beautifully.

I am woefully behind in my multiple memes... Getting there soon.

Thanks for this- selfishly I am so glad to have had this from you.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Your Gramps sounds cool. I wish mine had been cool like him. Mine was a distant kid hating dick.

CDP said...

dcup--that's so true, I've never actually encountered a Hallmark commercial grandparent (nor do I wish to)

Fran--didn't mean to make you cry, but it's good crying, right?

Dr. M--I'm sorry to hear children don't have a grandfather (both of our fathers are dead) and it's something I wish I could give them...I wish you'd had a fun grandfather, it's a great gift for a child.

FranIAm said...

Totally totally good crying. You see, not unlike yourself- I am in the drinking class!

Worker Mommy said...

Who doesn't love the word Hooch ?

Wyldth1ng said...

Every gift from your children? I gave my Mom some pretty bad stuff over the years, like frogs and weasels and some other fine specimans. Most of them were dead though.

Very fun.

CDP said...

WM--I know, and I love all the variations, too. Hooch, hoochie, hoochie mama. tee hee!

Wyldth1ng--OK, there were a couple of times during the cicada invasion of 2004 (my older son was 3 at the time) that I received dead cicadas and cicada exoskeletons that I could totally have done without. So ALMOST everything they've ever given me.

Sauntering Soul said...

Your grandpa sounds absolutely wonderful!

I miss my Poppie so much. He passed away when I was in college. I never saw him drink, but your post still brought back wonderful memories of my own grandfather.

CDP said...

I miss mine, too, and I wish my children had one!

Whiskeymarie said...

Nice list. Your grandpa sounds like he would have been my kind of guy!

CDP said...

Yeah, he was a lot of fun to hang out with.

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