Some of the most fun I had in the summer while school was out was the time Mom would allow me to go home with Grandmother and Granddad. They lived on a farm and there was always something to do. There was a lovely spring at the foot of the hillside and of course the small creek that ran from it. The spring house was cool and that is where Grandmother kept the extra milk and cream until time to take it to the train station in the closest town.
That is where we lived and Grandmother usually came to town with Granddad when he came to bring the cream cans. She would come up to the house to visit and after Granddad unloaded the cream cans he would come up too and after lunch they would start back to the farm after getting any supplies needed from the store. It was a “top button day” for me if Mom said I could go home with them. That meant I had a whole week of fun because that wagon wouldn’t be coming back to town until next week at the same time.
Granddad raised feed for his cattle and some cane to make sorghum molasses with in the fall. When he would come to the house for lunch he would often bring short pieces of cane for me to chew on in the afternoon. Oh, my! Those were as good as an all-day lollipop. I would chew and suck on that piece of cane for hours until every drop of the sweet juice in it was consumed. That made a “top button day” for me every day.
It was from Granddad that I learned what a top button day was. He talked a lot about what he called “top-button truth.” If you get the top button on your shirt right, Granddaddy used to tell me, then all the rest of the buttons will fall into place behind it. But get the top button wrong, and no matter how hard you try, nothing will ever line up like it’s supposed to. And oftentimes our days are like that. When it starts off going well it usually progresses like that. But if you get the first thing wrong, it gets you grumpy and frustrated and this usually causes you to make more mistakes as the day goes along.
There were also “top button people” according to Granddad. He would tell me there are some people you like immediately, some who you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick. But he and Grandmother were quick to tell me that those people need love too. Just because someone wasn’t a top button person didn’t mean you weren’t to be kind to them and courteous to them and, of course, you helped them if they needed help. You just didn’t have to become bosom buddies with them.
Yes, I miss Granddad’s wisdom.