He would walk into the kitchen dressed for work and pour a cup of coffee. (I remember asking my grandmother once if I could try some, and she told me I wouldn't like it because it was bitter. Ever since that day, I have avoided coffee - even coffee cake or coffee-flavored ice cream - like the plague.) Then, he would carry his tray into the den with a plate of toast and eggs sunny-side-up for breakfast. They looked more like "runny-side-up" to me.
The 7 o'clock morning news would be playing on the Zenith console TV - you know, those television sets that doubled as a piece of polished furniture. Granddad always had a copy of the Houston Chronicle at hand. After perusing the headlines, he would fold up the paper, especially the sports section, tuck it under his arm and head out the door to take me to school.
It was only a five or six-minute drive, but those short rides with this special man in his dusty old burgundy-colored Ford LTD still travel through the maps of my mind to this day. I can't say I remember all the little things we talked about, though some I still do. But it was the songs, the short funny songs he sang to me and taught me to sing on the way to school. Here's an example:
We have no bananas today
We have string beans and onions
Cabbages and scallions
And all kinds of fruit, and say
We have an old fashioned tomato
A Long Island potato
But yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today.
Almost everyone who knew him, which was no small number, called him C. O. White, or just C. O. But for me, he was Granddad, and his significance in my life cannot be overstated.
Over the next several months, I will sprinkle some of my upcoming blog posts with little details and stories from his life. Perhaps you knew Clarence Otho White or have a story to share. If so, please comment below, or CONTACT me.