My grandfather had a great round belly, and he wore dentures. He and my grandmother lived on a hundred acres of hilly land in dairy country, in Eatonton, Georgia. When we visited, I knocked the spider webs out of Nannie’s rubber boots each morning, and I walked through the dewy grass with Grandaddy to the compost pile, where he’d dump the canteloupe rinds from breakfast and the green bean tips from last nights dinner. I looked up at the hollowed out gourds he hung for bird houses, and after tossing the produce scraps on the pile, we walked among the peach trees.
The air smelled different in the morning because the world was cool and wet. The grass smelled grassier, the earth smelled earthier. Later in the day the world would smell musty and oppressive: hot. But in the morning it smelled fresh. Since Grandaddy and Nannie didn’t have cows, we didn’t have to worry about the nasty smell of manure — just vegetation and earth.
At night, after we’d dug potatoes, or swum in the swimming hole, or fished for yellow-bellies, and after Nannie had cooked a meal of beef, and rolls, and fresh corn from the garden — corn that we shucked in the shade of the walnut tree — we all retired to the living room where Nannie would work crosswords while everyone else talked. Sometimes I sat on Grandaddy’s roundbellied lap, and when I did, I asked him to take his dentures out. Everyone else would roll their eyes and groan at my request, but I loved the way he popped the plate out with his tongue, and there in his hand would be a mouth shaped metal piece. I thought it was fascinating that that thing was in his mouth all day, but I never knew it until he popped it out at night. I don’t remember any teeth in the piece, I only remember the silver horse-shoe shaped form, like the retainer I wore in my later years, after my braces were removed.
No, there is no point to this post. Just a ten-minute write since I’m thinking about Georgia.