A Grandfather's Tale
Good Times Spent with my Grandfather.
Many knew him as Lanier De Vours, his friends knew him as Bill, and us lucky ones knew him as Pops. Born on September 20th, 1920, William Lanier Deavours managed JC Penney's stores, established his own local clothing store, co-created a board game, wrote several books and articles, and proudly served his country in World War II. Although none of these achievements sky rocketed him into success, one thing he truly took pride in...was being a grandfather. A grandfather he was too, I can recall so many memories spent with him, that I could truly write a book. However, within this article, I would like to share just a few of those wonderful memories.
During the summer months, it was custom for me to stay at the grandparents house everyday. While my grandmother ran her own day care, my grandfather had more important things do. These things included spending time with his grandson, and having the time of their lives. On an average day, we would start the morning off with some breakfast and a hearty cup of coffee. Of course I didn't drink any coffee, however my grandfather drank enough for the both of us. We would sit around local eateries or the local mall chatting with the other old men about everything under the sun. Whether it was politics, religion, or simply about the weather, it was old man talk...and it was boring. Luckily, my grandfather packed plenty of quarters with him to quickly shut me up.
The Ninja Turtles arcade game kept me busy through all of those boring old man meetings that took place everyday. After what seemed like hours, we would gather our things and head on to the next destination. You see, my grandfather knew a lot of people, so anywhere you would go with him, you could count on it being a day long affair. Going to Wal-Mart was one of my favorite stops of the day, for in most cases, I reaped the benefits. It was my grandfather who bought some of my most treasured action figures, and a few who ended up on the bottom of the toy chest.
When my grandfather felt pity, and spent some bucks on luxuries such as the action figures shown above, not a cent was wasted. I played with those toys like they were the only ones I had. On the other hand, some toys were meant to stay on the shelves, like the one shown below.
Does anyone remember Biker Mice from Mars? It was a short lived cartoon about mice...from Mars...that were ummm bikers! Although I tried to like it, the cartoon just wasn't one of my favorites. Oh well, you live and learn I suppose, and I can safely say that Biker Mice from Mars (excluding the SNES game...I liked it) gets a thumbs down.
As lunch time rolled around, there was never any question to where we were to eat at. My grandfather and I always went to a local drug store called Riggs, for "little hamburgers" and a cherry coke. These hamburgers were one of the best things I have ever tasted, and the Cherry Coke was made on the spot with lots of cherry syrup. These trips to Riggs couldn't be any more special to me, for they were some of the best times of my life.
After many other random stops, we were homeward bound to tackle any unfinished or new project at hand. Pulling weeds, painting the porch, and sweeping the sidewalk were only some of the activities we would do on a daily basis. However, after a hard days work, it wasn't unlike my grandfather to give me a firm handshake with a little something in it.
As night drew near, on many occasions, I would spend the night with my grandparents. After a home cooked dinner, you could expect to end the night with a dose of Unsolved Mysteries and the ever so popular Rescue 911. As tales of car crashes and ambulance sirens were destined to plague my dreams, my grandfather would walk in with his robe and slippers on to send me away to a good night's rest. With the window raised open, choruses of crickets and the sweet smell of summer put me to sleep faster than my head could hit the pillow. When morning came around, we would start the day over and begin our journey like the day before. Those were great times.
No story about my grandfather would be complete without mentioning the disastrous demise of Pop's cat Rosco. Winters in East Tennessee bring about little snow, but in 1993, things were different. We had a major blizzard that would become legendary, so legendary that I actually have a T-shirt that says "I survived the Blizzard of 93"...I love that shirt. Anyway, my grandfather had a cat at the time (the only time they ever had a pet) that roamed about his office, doing whatever cats do. My grandfather would set Rosco out during the evenings, to let him run around and get some fresh air. After the blizzard hit, Rosco was nowhere to be found. After much searching, Pops realized what he had done. Rosco never made it in the night before, and was trapped in his snow covered "cat house". When Rosco was dug out, he was frozen solid...literally. It was one of the funniest, yet sickest things I have ever witnessed to this day.
After many health complications (even getting hit by a car), my grandfather became sick, and on February 12th, 2005 my Pops died. His death was like the death of a legend, a legend that would never die to me. He was my friend, my hero, my grandfather. He was the kind of guy that bought toilet paper just because it was on sale, had a car babes calendar in his office, and gave electric train sets for Christmas.
He was loved by many people(just as he loved his wife and family), and to this day his name still floats about our community. I loved my grandfather, and I know he would appreciate this article. Here's to you Pops...one man to truly be missed and remembered!
Thanks to those who I borrowed pictures from, you helped make this article possible!