Saturday, October 31, 2009

Consumate Prankster Grandaddy Holt

My Grandfather Holt use to regale we kids with the antics of his youth. One particular tale he would tell was an incident with his Grandfather Taylor, an old, very overweight, Irish immigrant from County Down. Grandfather Taylor enjoyed sitting in front of the fireplace smoking his pipe. Occasionally, the pipe would either die out if the old fellow fell asleep, or just burn out. When this would happen he would usually get whomever was near to either bring his tobacco or have them refill his pipe. This particular time Granddad and his brother Clyde and sister Mamie were handy and offered to refill the pipe. The entire procedure was hatched before hand and the conspirators had a small container of black gunpowder stashed in the next room where the tobacco was kept. They alternated layers of gunpowder and tobacco, tamping the last layer of tobacco nicely into the bowl, and then gave the pipe to the old man.

Grandaddy Taylor leaned back in his chair, carefully tamped the tobacco down, lit it and comfortably relaxed. After a few puffs, the pipe gave little "piffft" and a few sparks flew out. The old gentleman grunted, re-lit the pipe and leaned back again to enjoy his smoke. "Pffft" again. He took the pipe out of his mouth, looked at it, tamped it down even harder, and again leaned back to enjoy. This happened several more times to the annoyance of the old fellow but he would just re-tamp it and continue enjoying his smoke. Of course, all the while Grandad and his co-conspirators watched, giggling quietly. All of a sudden, the pipe literally exploded with a loud bang, singeing Grandad Taylor’s eyebrows and blackening his face from the lips up. I guess pandemonium broke loose in the Holt household and Grandad, Clyde and Mamie headed for the hills. He never did tell us the final outcome of this shenanigan. He couldn't, the memory was still so vivid he couldn't stop laughing.

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