Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Grandfather

My Mother is putting together a memory book about her dad, My Grandfather
Charles Bartlett Bingham.

* He was ALWAYS called Grandfather (not Grandpa -- and he would actually correct you if you said the wrong one) and so I remember really having to think about getting his name right. I guess when you are little having 2 or 3 different grandpa's it can be confusing trying to remember which one goes by what name.

* I remember so much about him at the ranch-- teaching us to shoot guns, ride three wheelers, swing, making fudge and of course his breakfasts.

* He loved to have fun and was just like the kids sometimes. I loved it when he took all the grandkids to "grandfather's camp" -- where we promptly got rained out the first night.

* I remember learning about horses and riding them. I remember how much he loved Ahab, the gray and white horse.

* I remember doing wood projects, cutting down trees -- all the dad's would chop with the chainsaws and then it was all of us kids jobs to take the cut pieces and throw them into the back of his OLD blue truck. Then when there was no more room for anymore wood all of us grandkids would climb on top of the truck and we would head back to the shed where we would dump out the wood and start stacking it. It seemed like he wanted enough wood for a thousand years. I remember when he rented a splitter and I thought we would never be done. Every time we went back to the ranch I was amazed that there were still trees because it seemed like he could cut them down faster than they could grow.

* I remember him starting the fire every morning in the wood burning stove. By 11:00 or so everyone would be pretty hot (except Grandfather) and the temperature tustle would begin. Tobi would open a window and Grandfather would shut it. (repeated 50 times)

* I loved it when I learned how he weeded. He put a backpack full of gasoline on that went to a torch in the front and he would walk around and burn any weeds.

* I loved all the fire stories, burning down the old white ranch house with the vacuum, tami's wedding dress??, granny's sewing machine, and more still in it -- he just said, it seemed like a good day for a fire.

* I remember when the wood supply caught on fire. We were all pretty ingenious in re-routing the irrigation supply to put it out -- and not one of us thought to call the firestation.

* I loved that all the games had regular rules and BINGHAM rules. Rook and Croquet were not for the faint of heart.

* I loved his big green lawn.

* I remember eating oranges all the time at the ranch. He would buy big boxes of them and if there were any left in the morning we would have fresh squeezed orange juice.

* I remember hearing all about his "curious and unusual" oral surgery cases. "And what do you think her family did to cure her broken jaw?" "Why they packed her mouth full of camel dung, of course"

* He loved to tell stories. The reader's digest magazine was made just for Grandfather I am certain.

* He wore cowboy boots to church. And he had probably 15 pairs of them. One pair was even purple.

* I remember a certain facial expression he made, usually when Granny was complaining about something -- he would grit his teeth and you could see his lower teeth and he would do the slightest nod up and down while rolling his eyes and blinking a lot.

* I remember him teaching me how to answer the phone at the ranch -- You couldn't just say hello, you had to say, "Hello Bingham's house" or something like that.

* I remember the tire swings -- the fear, the adrenalin, and the excitement. And if you are someone who can't understand how a tire swing could be fearful, then you CLEARLY never tried it at the ranch.

* I remember him pushing us SUPER high on the regular swing -- and I can remember holding on for dear life. And then I remember one of my cousins coming right off while Grandfather was pushing them and thinking they did not hold on tight enough.

* The waterfall, the windmill, riding the 3 wheelers all through the BLM land.

* I remember going on a bear hunt to the water spring. He brought all of us grandkids and the express purpose I think was to scare us to death.

* I remember him driving. . . fast. VERY. FAST. and having every radar detector on the dashboard.

* He liked motivational speakers and if it seemed too good to be true -- he TOTALLY believed them.

* I will forever associate AMWAY with Grandfather.

* I remember him taking all the little kids and laying them over his knee and saying one, two, one, two, one, two -- are you going to be a good kid now?

* But my favorite memory is the one I got in the most trouble for. We were all swimming at the waterfall. The dad's had dug it out deep enough for jumping and swimming and Grandfather was on one of the rock ledges fully clothed (cowboy boots, jeans, belt, buckle, button up shirt, cowboy hat.) As the grandkids climbed up the rock ledges to get him, he would just push them right back in the water over and over. So I snuck around the other side of the waterfall, climbed way up high and then came down behind him and shoved him into the water.

I got in trouble. A lot of trouble. I wondered why he could dish it but not take it. I still wonder. But it makes me laugh even to this day, HE WAS ONE SURPRISED (and very waterlogged) GRANDFATHER!!!!


Emi Wi said...

I remember when you invited me to your grandfather's ranch for Thanksgiving. I remember that he was very kind and welcoming and asked me questions like he was really interested in this freshman girl that he would probably never meet again. I also remember eating cracked wheat cereal with butter and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. I was under the impression that he made the cereal. Did he? I still remember that as a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Jamie said...

Yes, Emilie he made the breakfasts -- cracked wheat cereal and hard boiled eggs -- there was usually meat also -- sausage, bacon, or venison and freshed squeezed orange juice. He also usually made pancakes. I have fond memories of that thanksgiving as well. Time sure flies! Thanks for commenting!