My granddaddy called me crackerjack. He still does when he visits in my dreams. Why? Well, if you follow this blog: you know of our shared love of baseball, already. Granddaddy loved snacks while we watched and he always shared. One day the Braves were playing the Cubs in Chicago. During the 7th inning, stretch, in Chicago Take Me Out To The Ball Game is sung. When the song ended, he asked if I’d ever had any Crackerjacks. No, sir, was my answer. He didn’t say anything else about it, but I saw a slight smile and a glint in his eye when he didn’t know I was watching. Maybe he did… now that I think about it all these years later.
When we visited a few days later: Grandma was working in her beauty shop on mama and other ladies. He knew I’d much rather hang out with him. He said, “Come here and watch the game. I have a surprise for you.” Granddaddy I don’t need a present. “Silly, stubborn, girl it’s not a present. I’ll be right back. It’s in the kitchen. ” Okay. He comes back with two small boxes in a matter of minutes. He sits down, next to me, in his recliner. He opens one of the boxes, with his ever present pocket knife, and hands it to me. I look at it. It’s a box of Crackerjacks. You asked Grandma to buy some because I’d never had any? “It seemed wrong for you to never have had any.” I squeezed his hand and smiled: Thank you! This is wonderful. He said nothing, but smiled at me. I read the box closer. There’s a a toy in here? Cool!
I swiftly turned the box upside down on my lap. The snack inside went all over the floor. It was apparent grandma had just vacuumed Oh, no, grandma is going to kill me! I’m so sorry. He shakes his head at me, with a smile, and gets up to get the dust buster on the wall next to grandma’s recliner. “See this? She never has to know. I won’t tell if you don’t. ” I looked at him. He had mischief in his eyes. Isn’t that wrong? She’s going to know. She’ll empty that & know. “You worry too much, crackerjack. Watch and learn.” I was intrigued and had a feeling we were about to hide evidence of my mishap from grandma. He took great pleasure in getting into trouble with me and hiding it from grandma. I think he liked to watch her fret about what we were doing together with no supervision: the Parkinson and CP patients…disaster waiting to happen.
He quickly cleaned up my mess with the dust buster. He left for the kitchen with me following. He had the dust buster in his hands. He went to the trash can and emptied my mess in the bag. That’s nifty. He grinned and nodded. He handed me the little vacuum. He took the trash bag out & tied it. He replaced it and took the other one to the can outside. He came back inside. He said, “You know she doesn’t take out the trash…much. I do it, mostly.” I started to grin. He did too. He washed his hands and got another box of crackerjacks from the cabinet. “Come on.” I followed.
We resumed our positions. He opened the new box and fished for the toy. No snack reached the floor. He found the toy and handed it to me. I opened it while muttering show off. He laughed heartily. The toy was a let down. I opted for the snack instead. It was delicious. From that day forward: he called me crackerjack. No one knew the story of why except he and I. Everybody assumed the obvious answer to be the case: crackerjacks were our preferred snack during baseball season. I learned a valuable lesson in thriving the day I spilled those crackerjacks: mistakes are a part of life. What matters is what we learn from them; and how we clean up our messes if our mistakes make one.