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Grandpaw Lacy hunted, but he loved fishing with a passion. When Grandpaw Lacy wasn’t working, he fished. Great Aunt Velma said, “Raymond could catch fish in a pan of dishwater.”

Like his daddy before him, Grandpaw played the fiddle. He built the first violin he ever played using a wooden cigar box as the body. He spent many boyhood hours lying in the pasture teaching himself to play harmonica tunes until his mouth ached. He also played the “tater bug,” or mandolin, as city slickers call it. Grandpaw played with “The Old Spanish Trail Boys” in Texas in the early fifties. Radio listeners knew him as “The Smooth Fiddler” because the announcer said he played “like there was honey on his strings.”

Grandpaw never met a stranger. I don’t guess he ever disliked anyone except republicans, in the abstract, and braggarts, in the concrete. He remained a proud “Yeller Dog” Democrat all his life.

When I listen to my conscience, it’s Grandpaw's voice I hear: “Don’t lie. Never desert a friend. Life’s more than “The Almighty Dollar.” “Puttin’ on the dog” is for phonies. Don’t steal—even a penny. Never brag, and don’t trust someone who does. Respect nature and the animals you hunt. Work hard, but on your own terms. Don’t try to run anyone else, and don’t let anyone else run you. A little fun never hurt anybody. Always leave somethin’ on the table for the other man.”

Grandpaw was a peaceful sort, but said, “I ain’t never lookin’ for trouble, but if a feller backs me into a corner, I may hurt ‘em while I’m a’ tryin’ to get out of it.” Finally, his cardinal rule was: Keep your word. He said, “If you say you’ll do somethin’, try your best to do it. If you can’t trust a man’s word without a signed piece of paper, he ain’t worth a damn.”

I’ve written about events as I remember them. I’ve changed some names, places, and situations to protect the innocent, and the guilty, but the basic events are true. I hope you’re entertained and will be able to say about me what Huck Finn said about Mark Twain: “He told the truth—mainly.”

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