Instant Maxwell Coffee

Every child deserves the right to spend quality time with grandparents.  I was blessed with four wonderful grandparents who loved me and, in different ways poured into my life. 
My wife also enjoyed the love of four grandparents who all carried the same last name.  Owens married an Owens!  To set them apart, one was called “Town,” the other “Country.” I asked my wife, “What would you have done had they both lived in town?”
My four children tragically lost their maternal grandparents when they were quite young.  My mom died before any of them were born, and distance usually did not allow them opportunity to spend time with my dad.
As little children, my brothers and sisters and I loved to visit my grandparents’ 90-acre farm.  To me, 5286 Anderson Road in Pierpont was the closest place to heaven on earth!  Memories of waking up to the call of the whippoorwill, and greeting the day with the smells of freshly baked biscuits, crisp bacon, fried eggs and Maxwell Instant Coffee still puts me in a melancholy mood.
Walter Chandler was a tall, slender man who was mostly bald.  How he loved his grandkids!  When we were little, we used to fuss over who was going to sit on his knee at the kitchen table.  Of course, he showed no favoritism, and all of us had our turn. 
We watched in amazement as he poured molasses on his plate, mixed in lots of butter, sopped it up with his biscuit and placed the whole thing in his mouth.  Then he would purposely open wide and let us watch him chew.  How cool!    Grandma would say, “Daddy, now you quit acting like that in front of those children.”  But he seldom listened.
Grandpa’s immediate goal was to get us grandkids started on the right track by drinking coffee.  No grandchildren of his were going to miss out on Maxwell House Instant, if he could help it!  He said that coffee would make our feet turn black.  And he sure did like his strong.  After putting in a heaping teaspoon of coffee into a cup of kettle-boiled water, he began the “doctoring process.”  By the time he quit adding sugar and milk, his coffee had the consistency of maple sugar!
While sitting on his lap and drinking Maxwell Instant Coffee, grandpa would “flick” our head with his thumb.  We thought that was the funniest thing.  Then, he’d use his fingers to stretch the skin.  Sometimes it hurt.  “Now then,” he’d say, “Your brain will have room to grow today.” Grandma usually curtailed his fun activities when he started gnawing on our arms with his teeth!
We were unaware at the time that grandpa was a sickly man who struggled with heart disease.  He loved plowing, disking, planting and hoeing in his garden.  And I loved riding on his Massey Ferguson tractor.  However, he often had to lie down when his strength failed.
We seldom left the farm empty-handed, for when grandpa layed on the couch, he paid each of us kids one quarter to rub his head.
Obviously, grandma was special in her own way, but the memory of grandpa’s fun-loving antics still warms my heart today.  He passed away on his birthday nearly 50 years ago.  He was a good grandpa and I still miss him.  In the meantime, I carry out similar antics toward my grandchildren.  I was taught by the best!



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