Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Albert Aldorado Luckenbill - Feb. 9, 1875 - Feb. 12, 1968

Grandpa Luckenbill, someone said, "was a small man but only in stature."*  He was maybe 5'7". He wore suspenders to hold his pants up & sleeve holders to keep his cuffs from hanging down to his hands. His mustache was huge and bushy, seldom trimmed. No hair on his head in his old age but a white fringe behind his ears and on the back of his neck. He shaved with a straight razor that he sharpened on a leather strop. He trusted Grandma to shave the back of his neck with that same razor. She did it every Sunday morning.  Grandpa claimed that he was bald from sitting in damp churches with his hat off, but his oldest grand-daughter never knew him to step foot in a church.  

He loved the babies in the family, trotted them on his knee & sang this (now politically incorrect) song,though in his day no-one considered it improper. Grandpa would not have used skin-color to judge the character of anyone.

                   Buy a little wagon
                   Haul the baby out
                   Give him plenty cool fresh air.
                   Feed him on bananas
                   And he'll never get the gout.
                   Tie a yaller ribbon round his hair,
                   Bye-O-Baby, her's yo' daddy,
                   Up and down he goes.
                   Little black pickaninny
                   From way down in Virginny
                   And it's goodness how he grows!

The babies loved him back.

Grandpa gathered eggs on a chicken farm. No machines. He did it by hand. Cased them, also. He walked 4 miles there and 4 miles back, winter & summer. When a couple of his sons were grown and home from WWII they wanted to get him a bicycle. He couldn't ride a bicycle and didn't intend to learn, so told them it was hard enough to walk 8 miles a day and he wasn't about to push no damn bicycle. He made $18 a week. He did, at one time, get a $2 raise, so now was bringing home $20 a week. He could have all the cracked eggs he wanted. Grandma Luckenbill used to tell him to bring home a dozen cracked eggs if Homer (the owner of the farm) had any.  Grandpa would grin and say, "If he ain't got 'em, I can crack 'em."

"He was one of the best euchre players around," my brother Gerald said. "None of us could ever beat him. It was like he knew every card in your hand.  When he won he would get a great laugh out of it.  One of the most gentle and caring people in the world."
*I didn't know Grandpa well and have relied on the memories of older siblings to describe him.

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