Gilbert Neal (Part III)

Sometimes little things can tell you something important about a person. So, to wrap up, for now, my thoughts about Grampa Neal, let me add a few more stray facts that may, or may not, give you a better sense of what he was like as a person:

* He always drove an Oldsmobile with the license plate “GN 6.” He was the first person I ever saw with a “vanity” license plate.

* He was left-handed and bowled with a 16-lb. ball. If you left the “five pin” — which is the pin in the middle of the lane — after your first ball, he would inevitably try to increase the pressure on you by saying “Nobody misses the five pin.”

* He was a diehard Republican and had contributed to the Richard Nixon presidential campaign. They sent him a wooden contraption with a rotating metal disk with a relief of Nixon’s face on it in acknowledgement of his generosity and he displayed it prominently on his bookshelf.

* When we were kids and he said something we did not understand, he would ask us “Clear as mud?” If we said yes, he responded: “But mud isn’t clear.”

* He was a joiner. He was a 32nd degree Mason, a Shriner, an Odd Fellow, and bowled for 65 years (!) in the Masonic League in Akron, Ohio.

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