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There are things you need to know about my grandfather going into this story:

1. He was a rough man. Like a really, really rough man. After the war he got a job digging foundations for buildings by hand, and eventually worked his way up to owning a construction company. /1
2. He wasn't highly educated. He was a shrewd businessman, and a fair boss, but he wasn't book smart. Instead he was a cigar chomping, hands were one big callus, built like a brick shithouse but squashed down a bit rough man.

3. Every Sunday he would go to the detached garage behind the house he'd built and work on stuff while everyone went to church, then one Sunday he just decided "I'm going to church" and went every Sunday for the rest of his life. /3
Despite all of this, he was a genuine and loving man with REALLY rough edges. Like, he never called us grandkids by our names. We were always "Boy" or "Girl" to him. I sincerely wonder if he actually knew our names or not. But he always had a hug and candy for us. /4
Anyhow, when I was growing up he lived with my grandmother who...um...was a real piece of work herself...in the little brick house he'd built by hand years before. And we'd go visit them pretty much all the time, but especially around holidays and during the summer. /5
If the weather was bad we'd sit inside, and PawPaw would sit in his big old recliner chainsmoking like...a full pack of Lucky Strikes at once and watching television on his BIG SCREEN TV (a huge deal then). That was where he held court. /6
If the weather was nice, though, he'd insist that we all go out the back door he'd built into the living room itself so he could sit at his picnic table and chain smoke while barely saying three words to anyone around him. /7
And, like all good grandfather, my PawPaw was a fucking world class liar and teller of innocent tall tales!

For instance, there was a rabbit hole by his garage.

He said the Easter Bunny lived in it.

I genuinely can't fault PawPaw, I'm sure he was like "Oh ho ho, Boy # 10 will surely find this fun! All kids love the Easter Bunny!"

What PawPaw didn't know is I, as a child, was fucking terrified of the Easter Bunny.

Think about it from my little kid perspective:

First, your parents tell you that zombies are not only real, but we celebrate the day Jesus became one. As part of that celebration a six foot tall rabbit breaks into your home while you sleep and shits candy in a basket. /10
This is not a comforting thought, that a deranged Zombie-Loving, Scatophile Rabbit was stalking the darkened corridors of my childhood home.

It was a terrifying thought.

Absolutely terrifying. /11
But PawPaw, being PawPaw, did not know this. Instead, he had told me one day, between puffs of the entire carton of cigarettes he shoved in his mouth, that "Tha Ay-stur Bunneh lives in that thar hole thar, boy."

And then acted confused when I ran off screaming.

Just, like, horribly screaming, directly into the living room where I cuddled up on the loveseat beside MeeMee, who was steadfastly working her way through an entire freighter shipment of Virginia Slims and definitely did not have time for this shit.

Anyhow, the whole family (minus me and Granny Smoke Signals there) was hanging out in the backyard, and Dad had overheard PawPaw attempting to be a loving, caring grandfather. So Dad went over and gently explained that I was scared of the Easter Bunny. /14
Actually, I think what Dad said was "Dammit Leroy, he's scared of the Easter Bunny!"

And PawPaw looked puzzled. Very puzzled.

Then he walked into the garage.

Now, here's what happened next from my perspective:

I was cuddled up into MeeMee's bony as fuck side watching soap operas when from outside came an earth shattering BOOM that made me jump and MeeMee yell "OH LORD LEROY, NOT THE ROOF AGAIN!" (that's another story) /16
Then a shadowy form filled the back door into the living room from the yard...and KICKED THAT MOTHERFUCKER OPEN AS MY GRANDFATHER STOOD THERE SPLATTERED IN BLOOD AND HOLDING A DEAD RABBIT BY IT'S FUCKING FEET. /17
Striding into the room, a broad smile on his face, a shotgun in his other hand, he waved the rabbit corpse before my tiny eyes and exclaimed:


Two things happened that day:

1. PawPaw learned that I could scream loud enough to draw attention from two blocks over.

2. My Dad invented new curse words to use with his father.

But, at the end of the day and after the trauma had firmly settled in to haunt me for the rest of my life, I did get my very own pack of Juicy Fruit gum from him before going home.

So, you know, not the worst childhood memory.

Even if Dad didn't let us go back for a bit.
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