GRANDPA BERT

 

By: Verna (Cook) Weatherly

 

Grandpa Busby was our Dad's stepfather, and was a very gentle, soft-spoken man, not given to smiling a lot, but very kind and patient.  He always wore clean and neat bibbed overalls.  He smoked a pipe and rolled his own cigarettes.

 

He had been a bachelor since our grandmother Grace had died when our father was a teenager.  He rented a house next to the water "spring house" by Knuteville.  This spring supplied water for both Bates and Knuteville.  Later he moved further up Clear Creek and rented for a few years.  It was when he lived in this house I remember eating his pancakes, which he made every day.  He was such a slight unassuming person you might expect his pancakes to be the same, but they were not.  They were large in diameter and over an inch high.  They tasted delicious but I felt full all day long.

 

He finally built a small green and white, one room cabin in the mountains east of Dixie Summit along North Fork Bridge Creek Road.  Driving to the mountains to see our Grandpa was always memorable, but on this occasion it was the best ever.  We took the only route, known then as the "Y" - which was to drive to Austin Junction, turn right onto Highway 26, driving a few miles and turned right again on North Fork Bridge Road.  This is a very narrow mountain dirt road, which led to his cabin.  The road wound through dense Lodgepole and a few Ponderosa pine as we continued up the mountain.  We passed a small barn shouldered between the road and the foothills n our right.  A high wooden railing made up a small corral.  Inside the corral were approximately five goats.  One time when we drove past I heard my father call one of the young goats "a kid."  This caused me some worry and I tried to make sense of it, but I could not.  One of the older goats always held his head high and peered over the fence as we drove past.  He always looked as though he might speak.

 

We continued our drive a short distance more and finally parked our car along the side of the road, got out and walked into a small clearing marked by a narrow ravine.  The ravine, which ran parallel with the dirt road, extended up and sown the gradual slope of the mountain.  We walked a few feet further into the clearing and what we saw before us both startled and amazed us.  We had visited our grandpa for several weeks, and our expectations were to see the same clearing, the same creek and eventually his cabin.  This time our grandpa had made a beautiful narrow footbridge about fourteen feet long, which spanned a shallow creek.  What made the footbridge so extraordinary was that he had recently peeled the willows, which made them shimmering white, after which he shaped and coiled the tender branches into two hand railings.  The railings started at about three feet high at one end of he footbridge and arched to close to five feet in the middle of the bridge, and ended up again three feet on the other end.

 

As we stood and stared at this exceptionally rare bridge, and in contrast to the carpet of meadow grass, the two hand railings glistened in the sun like two embroidered crescent moons.

 

The cabin set close by on the opposite side of the ravine, against the hill.  It was made of lumber and painted white with green trim.  The main room of the cabin had an overhead loft with a ladder nailed from the loft to the floor.  A double bed stood in the center back wall of the main floor.  The kitchen table sat in the center of the room in front of a small kitchen cabinet.  Off to the side, next to the back door, was wood burning kitchen stove.  Three of the walls had windows, and it was in the east window where our Grandpa kept his "Bull Durham" and his package of thin cigarette papers. 

 

Going back out the front of the cabin and to the left up the hill was a small spring.  Like the stream, it too seemed almost invisible.  It just appeared in the side of the mountain.  It was almost silent; only the sound of a tiny spring voice of new water.

It was from this small spring our grandpa would carry his galvanized bucket of fresh water into his one room cabin and set it on the kitchen cabinet.  The bottom of the cabinet was covered with a thin muslin curtain.  After he set the bucket and dipper on this cabinet in front of a window, my brother, sister and I would take turns climbing up onto the stool.  We leaned over and took the dipper in our hand and fetched a drink of spring water from the bucket and drank the cold pure water.  Often I was compelled to lean down close to the bucket, where the coolness from the fresh icy water, and the scent of tin encircled my face.