I'm going to be out of town for the holidays, so this week we will be closing down Mid Stream Radio, and my blog posting will be limited. But we'll be back on New Years Eve for our regularly scheduled shows. In the meantime, however, I would like to leave you with some observations on my Grandfather.
Walter Shaw, were he still alive today, would have been 108 years old. Born in 1899, he lived for ninety years and saw the evolution of our culture through its most rapid changes in history. He was a mechanic, a farmer and a soldier - a dough boy as they were called at the time. He was a tireless worker well into his eighties, raising his own vegetables in his garden, always rising before dawn and having a full schedule of "chores" to fill his day. At the age of 17 he married my grandmother. The union would last for nearly seventy years. He looked with disdain on frivolous people who wasted their days in pursuit of entertainment or idle time. He never owned a television, preferring his old General Electric radio for when he wanted to catch up on the news.
Of course, it would be easy to stop there, looking at Walter though the kindly, soft lens of time. But like most people, he had his flaws as well and in great number. He was a hopeless bigot and homophobe. He would not suffer a black person to set foot on his property, had no use for "those jews" and thought a firm thrashing was the only proper treatment for "flakes." (read: homosexuals.) He felt that women were absolutely the "property" of their husbands and fathers and treated them as such to the point of abuse.
My grandfather was a lifelong subscriber to one of those weekly, full color tabloids (I believe it was something like the Weekly World Globe or something like that) and believed every word they printed as being the gospel truth. I still remember his telling me, when I was in junior high school, that the Japanese were actually a mutant race - the result of Chinese soldiers mating with gorillas during some long ago war. He believed that aliens were walking the earth on a daily basis and some were highly placed members of the Eisenhower administration.
Oh yes... and JFK was actually shot by Lyndon Johnson.
Walter was a complicated man, but certainly a product of his times. He was flawed but saw himself as well meaning and a dedicated believer in the vision that good would always triumph over evil. In his mind, there was very little that couldn't be cured by a hard day of work. Now that Christmas is nearly upon us, I thought it would be fitting to take a moment and remember him. This might be a good time for all of you to remember some of you ancestors as well. The older I get, the smarter they get.
Happy holidays to you all.