The Day That Patrick Came to Town
This post is a re-post of one I made years ago. I am reposting it with a video as part of the new Throwback Thursday meme. Come and join us.
My father, Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr., was a proud grandfather. When my sister, Sandra, announced that she was expecting, he beamed with pride.
In 1985, his first grandchild, Patrick, was born. For some reason my father could not get it into his head that Patrick’s last name was not McClendon.
My sister and brother-in-law, along with Patrick, lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. From time to time they would come to Iva, South Carolina, for a visit. The time came for their first visit after Patrick was born.
My family owned the Western Auto Store in Iva, South Carolina, and we had one of those changeable letter signs that were popular in the 1980s. We changed the message about once a week. It was my job to change the message each week. We never had the same message on both sides of the sign. Well, almost never.
I usually ate breakfast at Waffle King No. 3. That morning my father came to the restaurant early and told me he wanted me to go to the store right away and get the changeable letter sign changed to say Welcome Patrick on both sides. The store was not due to open for over an hour but he wanted that sign out before daylight.
I drove to the store and located the correct letters. I had to change the sign in the cold December wind as the sun came up. Shortly after that, Papa Bruce arrived and worked on getting the store open while I went back to the restaurant to get another breakfast since I did not get to finish mine earlier. Papa Bruce paid for the new breakfast.
All morning long, Papa Bruce paced the sales floor. Whenever he spoke with an employee, he would say, “When Patrick gets here, he will straighten you out”. When my sister arrived, my father made sure that she and Al, her husband, had seen the sign.
If Papa Bruce could have arranged it, there would have been a ticker tape parade through the town. Papa took Patrick around the store showing him off to all the customers. Patrick helped Papa wait on customers, even though he was less than a month old. Papa Bruce took Patrick and showed him all the Christmas decorations. He was one proud Papa.