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Grandpa's Life of Crime

My grandfather was a problem-solver.

Glen Franklin Chism (my grandfather) was born in 1924,and married Jarlene Branscum (my grandmother). Most of their lives, they lived in and around Baxter and Izard Counties, in Arkansas-raising their seven children in the fierce beauty of the Ozark hills and the White River. He was a good-natured hillfolk, and I remember as a child, whispering to my mother often: "WHAT DID GRANDPA JUST SAY?" His thick southern accent was as deep-rooted as his methods of doing things!

Glen was known for his "absolute" ways about life. There didn't seem to be a challenge he couldn't overcome; nor a situation that caused him to show much outward distress.

As an example, upon one occasion, he called my father, and announced:


If you were in need, Glen was generous in sharing his food, his table, his crop-anything he had. He was kind to those in need. He made beer that looked like swamp water and raised peanuts for his grandkids.

By contrast, If there was a threat to his family or his livelihood, he wouldn't hesitate to supply a good old fashioned "Glen Chism WHOOPIN"-and never bat an eye doing it!

Many a time, I'd hear about hollerin' matches he would get into, with his doctor-Dr. Max Cheney (recently deceased), at the clinic. Grandma would carry on about how much she dreaded going with him to his checkups, as grandpa would always end up shouting at Dr. Max about how he was "JUST AFTER MORE MONEY!" Unbeknownst to her, grandpa would always speak warmly about Dr. Max, to me in private- "HE'S A PRETTY SMART ONE! GOT ME SUBSCRIBED TO THIS NEW MEDICINE THAT'S CHEAPER TOO!"

There are many tales about this man.

This one takes place at basketball game, in Norfork Arkansas...

My father and grandpa had gone to watch a ballgame at the Norfork gym, in town. Dad said he was about thirteen years old, at the time. Just before the ballgame ended, the two left and went to the truck to head for home, so as to beat the traffic. Glen discovered that his truck had been blocked-both in front and back, preventing him from leaving. Dad said grandpa never said a word about it, as the two climbed into the pickup, and he wondered to himself how long his daddy would have to wait before someone came along and moved one the vehicles. He didn't have to ponder this thought for long, as grandpa started the truck right up and shifted into drive! Grandpa hit the gas and nailed the truck in front of him so hard it dented the tailgate of the truck in front! Then, he shifted into reverse and gave the truck behind him as good as the front one got! Back and forth their truck went-smashing into the vehicles repeatedly! This went on what seemed like hours, to my father, until one of the vehicles had been pushed far enough out of the way for grandpa to pass his truck through! Dad said his eyes were as big as silver dollars, but still grandpa did not acknowledge the scene in any way!

I don't recall there ever being a problem that grandpa didn't have a solution to. He was resourceful, that way... (pictured below: Glen Franklin Chism 1924-2008)


Christine Dale is the proud "fish wife" to owner and fishing guide of Reel Fish Guide Service, Jake Dale. The two have five children together and enjoy sharing their love of family and outdoors in the beautiful country surrounding Lake Norfork.

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