Sunday, June 08, 2008

Edgar, Mae & Aunt Snooks
From Lori's Picture Collection
The handsome dude you see in the picture above is my grandfather, Edgar Hawkins. If you look closely, you'll notice not only is he standing in-between two nice-looking ladies (my grandmother & and my great aunt), but Ole Boy is holding a bottle of liquor in one hand and several bills in the other. This picture gives me a bit of insight into why another one of my grandmother's sisters tagged my Granddaddy with the nick-name "The Pimp." (LOL)
Today is my Granddaddy's 91st birthday! And I'll have you know, he's still
sound of mind, serves as an usher in his church, drives his own car, goes fishing and hunting, enjoys watching baseball and CNN and is still every bit of the character you see in the black and white picture above.
My grandfather was born in 1917 in Water Valley, Mississippi. He was the third of eight children produced by Alberta and Vernon Hawkins. He dropped out of school somewhere between the fourth and fifth grades and went to work in the saw mills. He served overseas in WWII and I'm mad at myself because I can't find his army picture (I'd fully intended to post it in this piece).
He played baseball in his youth and was decent enough to be scouted by a pro-team, but by the time the Jackie Robinson finally broke the color barrier, my grandfather was deemed too old to play.
After leaving the service, he eventually landed a postion, making crates at the Defense Depot in Memphis, a position he held until he retired in the '80s. Two of the highlights of his career while working at the Depot include, single-handedly filing a civil rights law suit against them in 1968, which he won (I do have the paper-work to prove it) and breaking the jaw of the White co-worker who made the mistake one day of calling Ed Hawkins out of his name (LOL). And for those of you who buy into all of those tv & hollywood sterotypes about murderous Southern White folks and scared Negroes, no my grandfather didn't get fired or run out of town or threatened with lynching for breaking his White co-worker's jaw. What he got when he returned to work the next day was standing ovation from his Black co-workers. Yeah, those are the stories from the Delta, ya'll don't hear . . .
Ed & My Son
From Lori's Picture Collection
Anyway, I think it's safe to say, I inherited a bit of my Granddaddy's hot temper (smile) and don't mess with me disposition. It takes a longer for mine to boil, but once I get there, oh, it's on, like pop-corn (LOL). I lived with my grandparents, off and one while I was a child and again, while intending college in Memphis. I am who I am, the good and the bad, because of them and I wouldn't have it any other way.
When the hubby and I finally settled down and bought a home in Memphis, we lived less than a 7 minute drive from my Granddaddy. As you can see from the picture above and the one below, the old dude proved a very capable baby-sitter. Of course based on the bill I see in my little boy's hand, I think he just might have picked up a little more from his great-grand than I thought or ever intended for him too (smile).
Ed and his great-grandson
From Lori's Picture Collection

So, I just wanted to send out a "Happy Birthday" shout-out to the Old Boy and congratulate him on reaching the grand old age of 91. . . not only because I love him and I want to honor him but because as one of Toni Cade Bambara's character's states in the short story, "My Man Bovanne"--

. . . "you gots to take care of the older folks . . . 'Cause old folks is the nation."


T.C. said...

this put a HUGE smile on my face! this is wonderful!

Lori said...

Thanks T.C.! Glad you enjoyed it (smile).

bettye griffin said...

Happy birthday to Lori's Granddaddy! I want to be just like him when I grow up.

Lori said...

I hear ya Bettye! Don't we all? (smile). I can only hope I inherited a few of his longevity genes.

musikal maniac said...

I don't know how I missed this when you posted it. What a dapper ole dude. He sure was good looking back in the day and his charm is still strong. You are lucky to have him.

Lori said...

Musikal M.,
Thanks! Yes, I am truly one lucky and blessed gal (smile).