Monday Memories: Grandpa Leatherman and the “Accidental” Electrocution.

My cousins and I all believe that my Grandpa Leatherman was some kind of super hero.  With feats like these how could we think otherwise? He worked as a cowboy in Montana, he was a Bell Diver for the local electric company and laid under water lines, he was in the Navy during WWII, and also survived his ship being blow up.  He was the local scoutmaster in Byron Center, Michigan for many years, he had a barn that held all of the contents of the entire universe.( seriously, you could find anything you ever needed in that barn). My grandpa made the best silver dollar pancakes in the world (I will fight anyone who says otherwise), he made handmade candles, and could also sew, crochet, knit and make macrame dogs and frogs. He helped build the church steeple that he and my grandmother were married in.  They had to call him down off the roof to get married, and they were married by candle light. Oh, and he was an electrician by trade.

When I was 14, my family sold our home to build a new one.  While the new home was being built, we lived at my grandparents home.  By home, I mean their backyard.  My parents and brother stayed in a pop-up trailer.  I stayed in our boat, yes I said boat.  We parked it in the backyard and ran a an electric cord so that I could have a light.  No one has ever accused me a being too classy.  The pop up tent was actually quite nice, it had a stove inside and a heater.  We of course had access to the bathroom inside their home for showering and such things.

On a side note, my grandfather had never been a big fan of my Dad.  There are lots of reasons I am sure.  He was never outright rude, or unpleasant to him.  He just wasn’t overly fond of him.  Things got worse when my parents divorced, and then decided to remarry.  (Don’t even ask, it was ridiculous.  They eventually divorced a second time just to even things out.)  But, the summer of living in my grandparent’s backyard was the summer they remarried.  I am sure my grandpa was thrilled.

I spent my days laying in the sun on the boat, on dry land.  Or I wandered off through the woods.  I loved my grandparent’s property.  On the day of the “accidental electrocution” I had been out for a long walk through the woods that bordered the back of the property.  I was gone most of the day, and only returned just before 5pm.

My grandfather was at the pop up trailer as I came out of the woods.  Then strangely, he moved at great speed to the side of the garage.  I say strangely because the man had severe arthritis.  He NEVER moved quickly, it hurt him way too much.  I was sure he had not seen me, as I was quite a distance away and no where near where he was.  It looked like he was hiding, as he was slightly crouched down.  He seemed to be watching the pop up trailer.

A few moments later, my father’s car pulled into the driveway.  My grandfather was blocked from the view of my dad by the garage, however, I could see him.  I saw him peeking around watching my dad climb out of the car.  Coincidentally, this was a night that my mom was working late.

This behavior was so very strange.  It stopped me in my tracks, and I quickly found a spot behind a big tree to watch whatever was about to unfold.  Something told me it would be best not to be seen.

My intuition did not fail me.

My dad, all 6ft 4 of him, walked up to his temporary home and reached confidently to open up the door.

I watched as my dad was thrown a few feet backwards, landing hard on his ass.  The look of shock on his face as he let loose a long string of profanity was priceless.  I heard it all clearly as I watched the events unfold.

I also watched as my dear, arthritic grandfather high-tailed it around the garage and into the house, without my father ever seeing him.

I waited years before I told anyone what I saw. I’ve never told my dad.  He often talked about how the trailer must not have been grounded properly and blah blah blah.

My grandfather was an electrician, and a sneaky character.  I loved him.

Grandpa in the Bell Suit

How about you?  Any funny family stories that you would love to share?  Add them in the comments!



9 thoughts on “Monday Memories: Grandpa Leatherman and the “Accidental” Electrocution.

  1. Wow, I definitely have no stories that compare to that. I knew neither of my grandfathers, really–one because he died before I was born and one because he was really old (he fought in the Great War!) and not a particularly affectionate man. However, that means I’ve always kinda “adopted” grandpa figures. My Uncle Bill, who wasn’t actually a relation, was one of those men. He lived down the road from us in Ohio, when most of our family lived out of state. He and his wife were wonderful grandparents–to me even before they had any real grandkids. They had a pond and trucked in sand for a beach, and many of my best childhood memories were made there (black snakes and pond muck and all!).

    Liked by 1 person

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