Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My great-grandfather, Joe Bentley, is probably one of the most lovable people I will ever meet in my lifetime. Despite the wild, sometimes sobering stories he tells on himself, it's honestly hard to picture him ever being anything but the kindhearted man I've grown to love and respect.

It's equally hard not to drift when I'm listening to him talk, mentally visualizing the beauties and atrocities those deep blue eyes have seen, the precious knowledge stored in now fading memories. Although the majority of his tales take place many years ago, even now in his old age, traces of Popaw Bentley's youth still occasionally surface.

He's been living with my grandparents for quite some time now, and as a result, they too have plenty of new stories to tell. One in particular I heard yesterday...

My grandfather, Kenis, makes what he calls "whirlybirds" which are basically a cross between a weathervane rooster and a pinwheel. Each one is made of wood and crafted to look like various birds, mostly ducks, and they usually end up in my grandparents' backyard.

Popaw Bentley likes to shadow my grandpa while he works in the shop, and last week was no different. After carrying on in various small talk and a few questions about the whirlybird he was painting at the time, Popaw Bentley returned to the living room to lie down. Shortly after he was settled, my grandmother came in from the kitchen and asked him, "Daddy, where's Ken at?" 

My great-grandfather paused, and then replied to her in between giggles, much to my grandma's shock, "Oh, he's out in the garage playin' with his bird." Telling it now, she can't help but laugh, and neither can I. 

92 years old, and Popaw Bentley has a better sense of humor than most people half his age.