Thomas Ramey Watson

Memories of my grandparents and American values

Today I was reading a discussion by Brits about their notions of trespassing. Anyone is free to walk or drive through their property. You cannot keep them from doing so. Only recently when people began buying land instead of inheriting it or having it bestowed upon them has this become controversial.

I was reminded of a funny story which reveals our crazy preoccupation with the notion of trespassing and our often strange American values.

When I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, my granddad was driving me and my grandmother through some of his ranch land when a sheriff pulled in and stopped him for trespassing on private property.

My granddad had a fit, since it was his land.

The sheriff kept insisting that he was trespassing.

My granddad was ready to pop him one and called him a “Son of a B.”

My grandmother, who would not let me get out of the car, began fretting about “Dad” swearing at the man, a terrible sin. She was a devout Baptist (American).

It took me years to figure out why calling someone a son of an insect was so horrible.

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