The Herron family in the mid - 1930s. Orville, Grandma Beulah, and Elden, my dad, in back, Florence and Doris in front and Granddad Frank on the right. I don't think he liked to smile for the camera. Nelson had been killed in a truck wreck and Elva had married.


Even though he doesn't smile much in these photos, I remember my grandad as a pretty nice old guy. At least, in my mind at the time he seemed pretty old. He taught me to read from an old atlas he had. I remember him patiently teaching me to sound words out, and, to this day Istanbul is Constantinople because of that old atlas. I remember feeling so proud when he stopped by once or twice to take me with him out to Will's gun shop in Hubbard Lake. The only fly in the ointment that I ever remember was when he didn't have any Beeman's gum, only Blackjack. I didn't like that licorice gum. I also remember being somewhat taken aback one day when I was about 14 or 15, and he asked me to lift a crate of strawberry plants over a fence for him. They didn't seem to weigh anything at all. He was a bit mythic in my mind, but here he was a frail old man. Maybe my first real knowledge of mortality.

For a backwoods farmer, I was sort of surprised by the worldliness of his views. I remember I was a rather liberal sort of kid, and I was rather afraid of mentioning my views on integration and the war in Vietnam too loudly - at least to gamdpa. But a couple of times I started talking with him about it, and he was surprisingly similar to my views. He was still a rather consrvative guy, but he seemed to know a lot more about the world, as I saw it, than I anticipated he would. Or maybe he was just more willing to humor me than I thought he would.