In which we meet Grandpa, confront a hairy situation and Our Millie is left with more questions than answers.
Our Millie used to say that sometimes there are just too many things to try to figure out and the summer of Grandpa's ear hair was one of them.
Our Millie was sittin' on the porch one August day swingin' her legs over the steps and playin' with her paper dolls. She was watchin' Grandpa whittle a toy pig for Cousin Leon, who loved pigs and looked like one himself in Our Millie's opinion. She happened to look at the side of Grandpa's head and noticed something strange. She studied it for awhile and then got up and walked around to look at the other side of his head. It was there, too. Grandpa had hair growin' out of his ears on both sides. It was kind of gray like the hair on his head and seemed to be tryin' to escape in tufts and grew longer from his ears.
She looked for awhile and asked, "Grandpa, why do you have hair growin' out of your ears?" "Heh?" he asked, tilting his head her way. She repeated her question louder and closer to his ear. "Oh," he yelled back. "It's to help me hear good. All them little hairs are gettin' out there and reachin' for sound waves in the air and takin' them back down to my eardrum." He went back to his whittlin' and workin' on the snout of the pig. Our Millie thought those hairs weren't doin' such a good job and then she went into the house and studied both her ears in the mirror to check her hearin'.
One day Grandpa came back from his Saturday trip to town with something he called a Miracle Ear. It was little and round and he had Grandma put a tiny battery in it for him 'cause his fingers were too big to handle it. He stuck it in his ear squashin' all them little hairs and kept adjustin' it and fiddlin' with it to get his hearin' just right. But all through the day he just kept yellin' "What you say?" to everybody and the only one he could hear was Big Mil 'cause her voice was so loud. Finally he got tired of that and adjusted it some more, but by then all he could hear were whistles and squeals comin' out of his ear. Our Millie could even hear them across the porch. Pretty soon he pulled that thing out of his ear sayin' that dang thing wasn't worth the money, and threw it in the junk drawer along with the Hearing Plus and the Whisper Aid, and all those little batteries rollin' around in there when he slammed the drawer shut and stomped away.
Grandpa finishe up his whittlin' one day and after takin' a swig of Uncle Jesse's liquid "medicine," he stretched out in his chair and soon was snorin'. Our Millie always like to watch Grandpa when he was like this 'cause his mouth was open and she kept thinkin' a fly was goin' to buzz in there and she wondered just what would happen. Would Grandpa close his moth and swallow it? And how would it taste? Or would it just flitter in one side and out the other, or would it tickle his lips and his tongue would come out and grab it like the old frogs on the pond?
Then Our Millie noticed something new. She looked real close and saw that Grandpa had hair growin' out of his nose. It looked a lot like the ear hair ans deemed to be tryin' to escape to the air too. But surely nose hair couldn't make him hear good like ear hair could. She ran into the house and took a good look at her nose and then came back to the porch. Grandma was doin' her knittin' in her favorite rockin' chair so Our Millie went over to her and asked, "Grandma, if the hair in Grandpa's ears help to hear good, does the hair in his nose help him smell good?"
Grandma choked and her face turned red as she dropped her knittin' and held her sides and this giggle started comin' up from nowhere. Grandma never giggled and Our Millie thought she was havin' some kind of a fit. Just then Big Mil was there with her broom, swattin' Our Millie on the legs and booming, "Don't you talk that way about your Grandpa! Now you get out of here."
Our Millie looked back from across the yard and saw Grandma gigglin' and Big Mil laughin' out loud, hangin' onto her broom and Grandpa just wakin' up and lookin' around.
Our Millie couldn't understand what was so funny. She thought Grandpa smelled pretty good anyway. He was always first at the table for the fried chicken and said that he never smelled nothin' as good as Grandma's apple pie.