Monday, November 07, 2005


I haven’t written much for a while, but it is not for a lack of material. The past four months have been as eventful as the months of travel that preceded them. In August I became a grandfather—twice in two weeks! A grandfather. That seems so strange to write. I…became…a…grandfather. Strange, too, that I should choose today to write about this. I just remembered that it is my grandfather’s birthday.
Irvin David Creech was born on November 7, 1895, in Floresville, Texas. His father, Richard Robert, my namesake (or, am I his?), was the tax assessor and sheriff in Floresville. His was the first family to live in the new jail. I have a photo from an old newspaper showing a group of Boy Scouts and Irvin is in the picture. My grandfather was a 13-year old boy once.
His wife died when she was only 32 and left him with six kids during the Depression. He saw them all out on their own. He had a government job, and so had an income when others did not, and, I’m told, opened his house up to several other families.
I remember Granddad well. He lived until I was a freshman in college. We spent every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas at his farm in Floresville, where my grandmother (my dad’s stepmother), Lilly, still lives. She’ll be 92 in January. Nearly all of their seventeen grandchildren spent a week or sometimes two on the farm together every summer while our parents were off doing Lord-knows-what.
Granddad was a rural mail carrier, working out of the post office in Falls City, Texas. The new post office there is on Irvin Street, named for him. He would finish his route early and be home in time for lunch. We would see his blue Chevrolet pickup raising dust on the county road and all the grandkids would run out to greet him. Sometimes he’d take us riding on those roads in the back of the truck. He’d let the girls sit in his lap in his Lazyboy recliner and put rollers in his hair.
I recall how it would be when the families started arriving at his house. The men—his sons and sons-in-law—would sit in the den and smoke cigarettes and talk about politics, the Vietnam War, and the President. The women would sit in the kitchen and smoke cigarettes and talk about the men. I liked to sit on the bed in the den and draw and listen to the deep discussion of the world’s issues by these economic and political experts, whose day jobs had them working in steel mills and chemical plants, but who seemed to know far more about the world than I could imagine. Often there would be a long period of silence followed by Grandad’s sighing and saying, “Well—I don’t know.”
The cigarettes finally won. He died of emphysema, like my dad, at 76. He was always an old man, I thought, though when I was born he was only 57 and I’m 53 now. That’s what makes it strange to write that I am a grandfather. It sounds like being old, and for the life of me, I still feel like a twenty-something with an unusual amount of experience. I don’t feel old.
But now I have two granddaughters. Ava Lynn was born on August 6 to Taylor and Amber, and she lives in Corpus Christi. I don’t get to see her often enough, but emailed digital photos and free long distance on the cell phone help us stay up with her as best we can.
Madison Jean was born on August 20 to Alan and Kathryn, and she lives about a half hour from here and I get to see her almost every week. I wish they both lived next door. I'll probably let them put rollers in my hair. If they want.