Pat Shingleton: "Gramps, Midnight and Socks..."
Our grandfather, Bert Price, lived with us in the same house that his children were born. A retired “railroader” at US Steel, he chewed Mailpouch tobacco, gardened, and read two newspapers every day from front to back - The Pittsburgh Post Gazette and The Ellwood City Ledger. Gramps watched only two television shows: Lawrence Welk and Studio Wrestling. He never had a driver’s license but would sit on the front steps on Brighton Road, watching the cars – waving at them when they honked. No matter what the season in western Pennsylvania, he wore the same clothes that included long johns, coveralls, flannel shirt with suspenders, boots, work gloves and his railroad hat. Last Sunday's thundershowers reminded me of Gramps when we would sit on the back porch glider during a thunderstorm. Not saying anything, just sitting, gliding and watching, commenting, "The Angels are bowling..." The loss of one of our twelve (12) cats here at the station surrendered his last nine. "Socks" would seemingly find a route into the news complex on numerous occasions under the training of a member of our crack security detail - "Tom the Cat Whisperer..." Our friend, Bagpiper Bob Cargo piped Socks home yesterday. Years ago, much to the irritation of my brother Kevin, Cindy Bridge would encourage her cat to come home. She would holler, with her speech impediment, “Miiiiidnight, time for din-oar, (dinner)” at which point the cat would be launched through the air, banging the aluminum panel on the storm door, courtesy of my brother Kevin. I asked Kevin the whereabouts of Midnight. Our home was built in 1904, considered technologically advanced with lightning rods. Kevin identified a severe thunderstorm in 1968 as Midnight was curled up at the base of the lightning rod, not making it home for “din-oar.”