This week in our Summer Reading Blog Series we hear (again) from Shannon Pierce, Blair’s sales and marketing assistant, on why you should eat at least a little ice cream every day.
Full disclosure, I actually read Long Gone Daddies by David Wesley Williams in the spring, but I have been thinking about its prevalent themes recently, so let’s let that slide. In Long Gone Daddies Luther Gaunt is a traveling musician seeking to understand the two generations of male musicians who came before him. He knows pieces of their stories, but spends much of the book contemplating the motivations underlying the lives they led.
My grandfather, Dr. Thomas F. Clauss, “Doc”, Tucker, Grandpop, passed away earlier this week and, while, like the Gaunts, he lived near Scranton, the similarities between him and the absentee Gaunt fathers end there. If pressed to make a literary parallel I would paint him more as the Atticus Finch of small-town doctors. He led an impressive life and maintained a strong reputation for being fair and kind. He let his patients pay him in produce, gave his kids stitches on the kitchen table, played football in the front yard, and was well known for his loud bow ties. Like the effect of the absentee Gaunts on Luther, however, my grandfather’s death leaves me thinking of all the ways that I did not know him. As Luther imagines the reasons why his ancestors skipped town or missed auditions, I find myself imagining the complexities behind my own grandfather’s, albeit more honorable, decisions and passions.
Of my grandfather’s 10 surviving children and 39 grandchildren, there are no doubt many who were much closer to the man than I was, and would have much less room for conjecture, but the understanding of earlier generations is always glossed over with an anachronistic haze and it is hard to construct a fully fledged rendering of our role models at younger ages. As Luther Gaunt searches for answers from those who knew his predecessors, a part of me is looking forward to listening to stories about my grandfather at his upcoming funeral. Until then, I find comfort in remembering the tangible connections that I have to him. Besides seeing the reflections of his generous character enacted daily through my mother, and forever wondering about the culprit responsible for the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder (Bing Crosby has got nothing on Thomas Clauss), the most personally engrained link that I have to my grandfather is ice cream.
During our childhood visits we would inevitably be treated to ice cream after dinner. “The calcium is good for them,” my grandfather would say to any of our skeptical parents as he added an extra scoop to our bowls, and I took that statement as pure, delicious, fact.
It’s not so much that I consciously plan to have ice cream every day, but no day feels complete unless I do, and I owe that to my grandfather. Each chilly bite reminds me a little of the amazing man behind the tradition, and it’s a legacy that I will be proud to pass on. Therefore, eat ice cream, it’s good for you. A doctor told me so.
Check back next week for the final installment of our Summer Reading Series. Happy Reading!