My Little Town 20010617. Granddad and the Ivory Soap

(8 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

This is another installment about my grandfather, and he was quite the interesting guy.  I am trying to get some pictures of him, all in the custody of my former spouse, but I am sure that she will send them when she gets time.  We have no animosity, but she is just short on time.  He looked like Mr. Spock, after the surgery for the skin cancer on his ears.

But this is a very different piece.  I advise that you with young ones to read this piece first, because it is rather explicit.  But it is all factual.

This happened when I was around seven or eight years old, so that would be in 1965 or 1966.  Grandad was about 86 years old, give or take a couple.  HereHere is the link to the previous installment about him.

His name was Richard, but I always called him Granddad.  He never liked kids very much, but he liked me a lot.  We were buddies.  He was living in the bus at the time.  He did not have a telephone, but the folks that lived close to him did, and Johnnie Boggs (a female) called my mum to tell her that Granddad was not well.  Johnnie must have said something over the telephone that I could not hear, because my mum got a grim face and collected her prized pair of Playtex rubber gloves that she always used for washing dishes.

Granddad lived about 500 feet from the OK border, but that was only about a mile and a half from town, if you can call Hackett a town.  After getting out the door, we were there in less than three minutes.  Dad traveled for his work, so was never home except for Friday evenings until Monday mornings.  This was in the middle of the week, so my mum was the only one to help.  We got there and my mum told me to stay in the car.

That was unusual, because I almost always went into the bus when we visited.  But not this time.  I had been hoping that he would roll a Prince Albert cigarette for me, but not that night.  It was getting dusky, and I wall still sitting in the car for over what seemed to be half an hour.

About that much time later, my mum came out of the bus with the most disgusted look that I had ever seen on her face.  I asked what was the matter, and she just screamed at me to shut up.  She rarely did that, because she was really a good mum, so I just sat in the passenger seat as she drove back to our house.

I did not notice it at the time, but my mum’s precious pink Playtex gloves were not to be seen.  I knew that she cherished them, and would wash them after using them for the dishes.  I kept asking her if Granddad was OK.  She would just give a “shut up, little one” look, so I knew to stop asking her about it.

We drove silently to our house, and she took the gloves out of her purse, and they had been stripped inside out from her hands (my good friend Wayne calls it “outside innerds”).  Then she threw them, her precious pair of gloves, in the trash.  She had taken care of them for YEARS!

Here comes the graphic bit, so turn little ones away.  It turns out that Granddad was horribly constipated.  He was quite a good reader, and he had read that a soapsuds enema would give some relief from that condition.  Alas, he had no enema bag!  So he did the next best thing.

He took a bar of Ivory soap and inserted into his rectum.  I hope that he had used it for a week or so, because out of the wrapper Ivory soap it was at the time quite the square prism, with sharp sides.  I will never know, because it was years later that Dad told me the story.  Anyway, Granddad’s plan was to hold onto the bar and just insert it a little, but he lost his grip on it, and it went completely inside.

That is why my mum was so disgusted!  She had to “find” it, and have him push it out so that she could get a grip on it, with her gloved hands, and finally remove it.  No wonder that she was disgusted!  She was, and now I understand why she was so, for lack of a better word, nauseous. That is also why she threw her prized gloves in the trash when we got home.  She bought a new pair that week.

I do not know if Granddad got over his constipation with this episode, but I suspect that he did judging from my mum’ reaction.  Dad bought him an enema bag when he got back in town, so there was no more said about it.  But I wonder.

It was not for several years that I learnt the actual events behind that night.  At the time all that I knew was that my mum and I drove out there, she went in, and came back out disgusted.  Then we went home and she was very upset the rest of the night.  My parents finally told me what had happened that night, but I was well into my teens by then.

I apologize for this being so graphic, but it is all true. Besides, there is no other was to tell the story.  Do any of you have “funny” relatives and stories about them?  Likely not like this one!  Please let us know your stories in the comments!

Warmest regards,

Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith

Crossposted at Daily Kos,

Docudharma, and



  1. remembering distant memories?

    Warmest regards,


  2. I very much appreciate it.

    Warmest regards,


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