Friday, March 4, 2011

Memories Of Thomas Thatcher Mounts

Thomas Thatcher Mounts, or as I more affectionately called him, Grandpa, passed away this morning. I knew it was coming because my mom called me yesterday and told me that he was in the hospital. He was the last surviving child of Melva Thatcher and John Amer Mounts.

Grandpa, or as my younger cousins called him, Grumpa, was a gruff, but loveable man. Last night as I was thinking about him, I realized that I have no pictures of him! Of course that made me cry, but then I realized that the pictures of my favorite memories are tucked safely in my heart and mind. All I had to do was close my eyes and I was back walking through a field with him, Brett, Troy and Kathy on our way to his "favorite" fishing hole on Sinkut river on the edge of the 320 (property that he and Dad farmed). I can see him standing at the edge of the river showing us how to cast our lines up river and let them float down river to tease the fish, hoping one of them would take the bait. I remember him cutting the hook out of my hand that had been stuck there when a wild lure came flying at my face. "Hold still honey, I don't want to accidentally cut you. Be quiet or you will scare all of the fish away."

I remember butchering chickens with him and how he laughed when I got chased by a headless chicken. His question to me was, "Now, who is the chicken here and who is the girl?" I got my first anatomy lesson when he showed us the developing eggs in one of the hens that we had butchered. I remember how concerned he was with making sure that the chickens felt as little pain as possible. He always told us that we needed to be kind to animals because they too were God's creations.
I remember going to his little shop at the airport house and watching him tinker on things. I thought he could fix anything broken. I remember him holding me when Mom was in the hospital and letting me cry and then calming my fears and telling me it would be alright and that she would be home soon. I remember cooking in that kitchen with him and Grandma.

I remember going to Grandpa's house out by Sinkut Mtn, walking through the door and having him pick me up and dance me across the floor. Then watching in awe as he danced around the kitchen with Grandma, during which she giggled and said, "Oh, Tommy, stop it, I have work to do."

I remember dressing out a moose with him and him teaching me the finer points of skinning an animal. Catching horses and doctoring their wounds.

I remember playing Rummy Tile with him. He would take what seemed like forever to make his move and then sit there and go, "tick, tick, tick" when it was our turn.
I remember riding horses up to Crystal Lake and stopping to pick Thimble berries or blueberries.

Grandpa and Grandma moved to Washington when I was a teenager. When ever we would visit, he would always take time and talk to me. I remember the night before my wedding when he came in and sat on the edge of the hide-a-bed and asked me if I was sure that getting married was what I wanted to do. Then he asked if I was sure it was what I was supposed to do. Grandpa told me that if my husband ever treated me bad, to let him know because he would "tan that boy's hide" amongst other things.

I think one of my favorite memories was on a visit we made to Seattle when Cameron got married. Grandpa's mind wasn't what it used to be and I had been warned that he had been pinching the kids when they got near him. No sooner had we walked through the door, then Sidnee ran up to Grandpa, climbed right up on his lap and said, "I sure love you Grandpa". He wrapped his arms around her and put his cheek against hers, squeezed her and said, "well I love you too!" He had a big smile on his face. I hadn't seen him smile like that in a long time.

The more I reflect, the more I remember. I have so many memories of Grandpa that would make this post into a short story, but I will save that for another time. So this is it for now. Until we meet again, may you have all the tamales your belly can hold! I love you, Grandpa!