Monday, 9 April 2012


Grumpy was half of the local Chevrolet dealership from shortly after the war (WWII) ended and on through the fifties. Even though his name was really Howard, everyone called him Grumpy. I might add that the lazy ones just called him Grump. I suppose it was probably because of his demeanor; he looked--Grumpy. All the time.

Grumpy was substantial in stature. That is to say that he was quite overweight. Most men his size wore suspenders but Grumpy used a belt that was always on the downhill side of his backside; no one had any idea how his pants stayed up. But they did. Somehow.

One chilly winter day he was behind the parts counter putting a stock order away and he happened to be standing on a wooden stool so placed to enable him to reach the uppermost shelves. Getting a step-ladder would've been the smarter thing to do but that meant going out to the shop and therefore a waste of valuable time. Last part in hand he stretched way up...

Somehow his belt relaxed too much and his pants fell down, the belt carrying them right down to the floor. The cuffs of his trousers all but tied up his feet and I guess you could say that he was trapped--on top of the stool--behind the counter--in front of God and everybody. Fortunately for Grumpy, there was no one else inside the dealership, save for Slim, the mechanic in the back and Mrs. Finlay, the secretary. Well, if Slim had seen Grumpy standing there in his boxers, he'd have merely shrugged and ambled back to the shop. That left Mrs. Finlay as the most likely candidate to help a man in distress.

But after seeing the situation first hand, Mrs. Finlay refused to answer Grumpy's pleas for help. Back then it was--well it was in the fifties and people were a little more conservative back then. And for a married woman to help a married man who wasn't married to her get his pants up was something that was in the list of taboos. But she also hated to see her boss in such a predicament, so, after a lot of begging and grovelling, she gave in and went to his aid. She reached down and gingerly lifted the massive belt and, head turned away, started to hand Grumpy's pants back to him...

I mentioned before that the place was empty. Well, the door opened just then and in walked Tude. Of all people to show up it would have to be Tude, who was one of the most notorious jokers the town ever had. Tude wasn't his real name. In fact no one remembered where his nickname even came from. Somehow, somewhere, someone managed to massage the name, Clayton, into Tude. And it stuck like baby do-do to a blanket.

Tude saw Mrs. Finlay with Grumpy's pants in her hand and the horrified Mrs. Finlay saw Tude. She shrieked, dropped Grumpy's pants and ran back to her office, slamming the door behind her.

One would think that maybe Tude would've swallowed his pride and helped Grumpy out but Tude promptly turned and headed out the door. He drove right back to the coffee shop, where he'd just spent the last hour and invited everyone over to Grumpy's place for the show.

To this day no one knows who ended up helping Grumpy get his pants (and therefore off the stool)back up but suffice it to say that the next time anyone saw him, his pants were back where they belonged--on the downhill side of his six.


  1. Darn! So he was out of his predicament when everyone else showed up?
    Loved this story! I can just picture it. Hmm . . . Too bad Grumpy wasn't a window dresser. Maybe it's a good thing.

  2. I love Diane's blog, so here I am trawling through your archives.
    I would think such an incident would inspire Grumpy to buy a pair of suspenders.

    1. Hello, and thanks for stopping by and visiting my site. As far as suspenders are concerned, the old conservative types that dominated our town back in the immediate postwar years (still do for that matter), were pretty determined to keep things as they were. Grump wasn't the only one who needed suspenders and didn't use them. I might add that there were some who at one time were huge then lost a lot of weight. They refrained from buying new clothes until the old ones were worn out. I remember one guy whose pants resembled the famous picture of a guy covering himself with a barrel.