beard’s finally gone grey). Cross described Gramps’ outer appearance as “pre-War.” Yes, and there is also something about this particular bearded and be-hatted look that is indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. I’ve always called it the “Miner 49er”, though a recently departed old-timer I know nailed it when she called the style “Sourdough.” I think I’ll stick with that from now on (though I didn’t run it by Baby Gramps).
Scribbling (his word for playing) his tunes on a beat up National steel guitar, Gramps claims to have a collection of over 200 oddball instruments, from cigar box fiddles to musical saws—things he picks up while junking, one of his favorite pastimes—and things that I’ve only ever seen in vintage cartoons. That old animation has been one of Gramps’ sources of inspiration, ever since he discovered he could sing like Popeye, you know, back when he was “knee high from a tootsie-wootsie.” Indeed, he can replicate the sound of the spinach-fancying sailor, but it’s been said his voice also bears shades of Uncle Dave Macon, the throat singers of