Friday, October 31, 2014
William Wolf Davis 10/30/00
The Reynolds branch of my family has the more distinguished heritage, but the Davis side is rich with interesting characters.
My grandfather, William Wolf Davis, outlived three wives. His first and the mother of his children was Katharine Rebecca. I am named for her. She died when she was 45 years old. At that time, everyone thought she'd lived to a good age. Since she died before I was born, I have no memories of her.
I barely recall Grandfather Davis' second wife. In fact, I cannot remember her name, just that we called her Mom-Mom. That woman was a piece of work. When she cooked anything, she went strictly by the recipe, cooking something no longer and no shorter than it called for in the recipe. This was back in the days of wood-heated stoves, without the temperature controls we take for granted these days. My grandfather developed a stomach condition because of eating too much undercooked food. The kitchen was her department, so he would not say a word. One time, my mother made an early dinner for her brother, Aram, who was going out for the evening. Mom-Mom chewed her out, saying that if Aram could not eat with the family, he would not eat at all. She was a real Tartar.
I do have memories of Sarah, my grandfather's last wife. Sarah was attractive to the eye, but inside she seemed to be a dried up, withered prune. A maiden lady when she married Grandfather Davis, he got the surprise of his life when she denied him the privileges of the marriage bed. Sarah said that, at their age, they were too old for that sort of thing. I got the impression from my mother that my grandfather did not agree, but what could he do.
As a staunch Methodist household of that period, there was no drinking, no dancing, no cards, no nothing at my grandfather's house. Grandfather Davis only took liquor if he was having a spell. It amazed me how many spells that man had.
I recall one time when he was visiting at our house in Arbutus. My brother, Al (short for Alpha), made ginger ale and bourbon drinks for everyone, except grandfather. Grandfather Davis perked up and asked if he could have one too. Al was only too happy and poured a generous serving. Just as he handed it to Grandfather Davis, who should walk in but Uncle Aram.
Now, Uncle Aram was the staunchest of the staunch when it came to the "thou shalt nots." Everyone shot around a look of "what next?"
Uncle Aram looked at them all holding their high ball glasses and grilled, "What are you drinking?"
My brother Al remained completely unflustered. (I was quivering in my boots.) "Why, we are all enjoying some ginger ale. Could I get you some?"
"Yes," replied Uncle Aram, "But add some water – ginger ale is too strong a drink for me."
So there they all were on the wraparound porch, Uncle Aram with his ginger ale with a splash of water and the rest with more spirited beverages.
A toast - to the characters in our families who help build the character of our families!
Love to all – Gocky