my grampaw, the warlock

Oh, it’s not all Alan Rickman’s laser gaze and cute teens prancing around the Great Hall in robes, nosiree.

from the Archive:

My Grampaw, the warlock

Friday, September 30, 2005

Well it makes a hell of a lot of sense, if you think about it.

Even if he wasn’t my grandfather.

Depends on your definition, see. Are you an “on paper” person, or an “off the record” person? Because who my grandfather is depends on who you are in just that way.

On paper, Tom Bailey was my grandfather. Off-paper, or in other fact readily on-paper, he was at sea for ten months before my mother was born. In long retrospect, ie a visit almost 40 years after the fact, a picture of the next-farmer-over’s lawful daughter, sitting on top of the tv, looked enough like my mother to settle the matter. So. Are you a bureaucrat or are you a gossip? Those are your choices.

So. Tom Bailey was known as a warlock. Not a pagan. Please don’t make that mistake; Tom Bailey was a warlock, meaning he had allied himself to what he recognized as the powers of darkness in order to gain power, rather than wrapped himself in silk togas on long weekends and melted aromatherapy candles while doing tarot for his knitting club.

Awwww, how can you say that about a poor, semiliterate farmer?
Any number of ways, starting with the fact that, stone cold sober, he shot out the wall between the living room and the kitchen knowing full-well that his children and wife were on the other side. He wanted to practice, you see.

One of my aunts, as happens in families, was known as “the pretty one,” and, as happens in families, she prided herself on it. Until she was fourteen. At fourteen, she suddenly sprouted warts all over her hands. Now, anyone nowadays knows warts are caused buy a virus. And there’s nothing you can do but get them frozen off. But back then, there was no known cause and nothing you could do. And she was sure, absolutely sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that no man would ever marry her with these warts on her hands.

She cried. Of course she did. She cried night and day. And did it bother Tom Bailey? Of course it did not; with a father like him, the kids were always bawling anyway. But finally, after an interminable time during which nobody in the house was able to sleep because of the wailing and the tension, Tom Bailey took arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, ended them.

He said, “You stay here. The others will leave the house. Let them go to my brother, across the way. Tell them not to come back until an hour after dark. NOT. BEFORE.” and she did what she was told, related what she’d been told, they did what they were told, and an hour after sunset they headed back.

She was thin and shaking. She would not speak. She held her hands out, and they were flawless. They have remained flawless to this day, as has her silence.

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9 thoughts on “my grampaw, the warlock

  1. I come from a family with a wealth of creepy stories. My aunts and uncles thought my preoccupation with hearing my great grandma telling them them was creepy.

  2. In high school a friend had long standing and intractable warts on his fingers. My mother had told me of an old Scottish folk rememdy – have someone “buy” your warts. So I gave him some small coin, and sure enough, the warts went away in about three weeks. But not in three hours!

  3. Ahhh … It’s true that we of Irish descent have many “special talents and traits” that run in our bloodlines. Most are , of course, well kept secrets. ;)

  4. I didn’t know alcoholism and bar brawling were special talents lol

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. According to my boyfriend, all Irish people are drunks. Go figure. Guess cuz he’s Italian.

  5. You should hear what WE say about Italians.

    And yes, Henry, times are in GMT. It’s easier, given the readership spread round these parts. Great story!

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