My grandpa. I didn’t see him often. He lived with my grandma in a rural part of Kentucky when I was growing up in New York. A small place that backed up to woods. His name was Henry Ezekiel Beckley but they called him Zeke.
He had this rough, twangy accent that rolled over you like crackling peanut brittle. We’d play horseshoes out back and drink sweet tea. Sometimes we’d lumber down to the pond on an old pony to go turtle fishing. He even had a collection of shiny turtle shells.
I never ventured outside there on a summer night. I lay in my bed listening to a ghostly hound baying under the moon. Pop Pop told me it was the devil dog that roamed the woods at night. “Stay inside and he won’t get you”, Pop Pop said. I believed him.
He would take me with him to the Dead Horse Holler Tavern some times. An old place with peeling white paint. It looked like bird doo doo had been slapped on it over time. I’d get a Coke in a glass bottle and press it to my face, enjoying its coldness in the muggy Kentucky summer.
Pop Pop. Grandpa. Grandfather. Grandad.
My mom called hers Pappy.
My son calls one Pop Pop and the other Grampy.
In my book, Joshua and the Lightning Road, Joshua calls his grandpa Bo Chez – for the big cheese. He’s a big barrel of a man with a booming voice and magic in his hands. He’s also a big force in Joshua’s life and his unexpected journey.
Do you have a Pop Pop and fond memories? What was he like?