Friday, September 16, 2005

TNT and the Purloined Refrigerator

This is the most recent story about my grandfather that I heard. I overheard it about fifteen years ago.

I was living in southern Indiana about 85 miles east of Louisville. On my way home from a meeting in Indianapolis one evening, I stopped at a White Castle resturaunt in Louisville for coffee to keep me awake for the remainder of the drive. There were two elderly men sitting in a booth behind me. I wasn’t eavesdropping on their conversation until I heard the words “old TNT.”

Evidently one of the men had just told a story about my grandfather and the second was beginning his. The story was much like that of the politician whose narrative I posted yesterday.

It was the Depression and this man, like “Bob,” was working at a warehouse. Rather than unloading hams, he was unloading refrigerators and, with the help of a friend who owned a truck, he appropriated one and took it to his home. That evening Granddaddy knocked on his door.

He said to the man, “You have something in your kitchen that doesn’t belong to you. You take it back to where it belongs before tomorrow morning and we’ll forget that anything happened.”

Of course, I was all ears as I heard this. The story was so similar to the story the politician told that I wondered how my grandfather got the information about these thefts.

There was a pause after the man related what “old TNT” said to him, and then his companion asked, “So what did you do?”

The man replied, “When Terrible Nick Temple told you to do something, you’d better do it! So I got that refrigerator back to the warehouse before morning and getting it back I had no truck, so me and my brother carried it.”

Both men laughed. I laughed. And I turned to them, apologized for listening to their conversation, and introduced myself as the grandson of TNT. And they responded by shaking my hand and telling me that my grandfather, even if he could be “terrible,” was the most honest cop they had ever known.

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