See that picture there? That's a picture of two very handsome men in the front seat of the driver's Model A Ford. Or it could be a Model T. Maybe a Model C? I have no real idea.
But I know who the men are.
The one on the left is Paw-Paw. The one on the right is Mr. Moon.
Paw-Paw is Billy's grandfather and Billy is bringing him and Maw-Maw (whom, as you might assume, is Billy's grandmother) out to the house this morning. Then we're going to Monticello to the Mexican goods place where I'll covet the tin merry-go-round again and we might even go to lunch.
I've never met a more gracious and loving couple than Paw-Paw and Maw-Maw who have welcomed Mr. Moon and me into their home down in Tate's Hell more than once. They've fed us and liquored us up and let us enjoy the beauty of where they live. One Sunday afternoon, Paw-Paw took us on a boat ride up Doyle's Creek, a little ribbon of water that twists and turns through North Florida jungle that I doubt anyone's truly tread since the Ancients.
Besides being gracious and loving and welcoming, Paw-Paw and Maw-Maw are just a gorgeous couple. Every time I see Paw-Paw I get a little extra volume out of my heart-beat. He's that handsome. And Maw-Maw is just as beautiful as he is but she carries a gun in her purse so I'm always sure not to flirt too obviously with her man because she's a woman that not only has a gun, but would not hesitate to use it to defend her love.
Mind your manners around Maw-Maw!
But really, it's not the thought of the gun that makes me mind my manners around Billy's grandparents. It's the way they hug you and make you feel so special and loved. If you're a friend of Billy and Shayla's, you're their friend too.
Come on in. I've fried up some sausage and made a pot of gumbo and over there's the beer and have you seen my hummingbirds? Now y'all can sleep down here in this room and we'll be doing some oysters later so just make yourselves at home. Here, come sit by me. We're so glad you're here.
That's the sort of people they are.
And every time I'm around them, I'm reminded of how damn good people can be.
I'm reminded of how lucky I am to know them.
And I sort of feel like celebrities are coming to my house today.
Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw.
I'd rather spend time with them than with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who, if they're really, really lucky, will be together as long as Billy's grandparents, who are going through life together as gracefully and romantically as a matched set of ospreys flying through the world, and especially down by the Creek, making everyone they meet fall in love with them, making everyone they meet feel lucky, feel loved, feel cherished.
And having fun.
Y'all want some cane syrup on those biscuits? Jessie, get out your mandolin. Play us a tune.
It's always a dance with Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw.
I better go put on my dancing slippers. They'll be here soon.