Grandpa Carpenter’s 100th

My great grandfather would have turned 100 today. I happened to find this picture last week and was confused when the birthdate on the back was listed as 12-03-08. That was 1908!

The back says:

Donald V. Carpenter
12-03-08 – 5-16-03

In September of 2000 at the Kentucky Speedway he rode in a NASCAR race car. He went four laps at 170 MPH. He was almost 92 years old and the oldest person ever to take a ride from the national company of Richard Petty.

Grandpa Carpenter was always a funny guy, though his life wasn’t always easy. He used to tell stories about growing up around where we lived. Lover’s Lane was where my parents’ house ended up being built and he and his buddies would put red handkerchiefs over their headlights so the necking kids would think the police had pulled up behind them, and then they’d throw water balloons at them in their Model Ts. He recorded his stories to cassette tapes and I imagine them in some recorded history museum sometime.

I think it was Great Grandpa who once bet a family member that he could throw a hat up in the air and shoot a hole in it. My grandpa (his son-in-law) was the unlucky taker of this bet. Someone threw the hat in the air, and he followed its trajectory with his gun, including as it fell to the ground. After it landed he shot a hole in it and won the bet.

He was a baker and his brownies won the Pillsbury Bake Off for professional bakers one year when I was a kid.

I remember four-generation sledding parties for our birthdays with him riding down the hill when he was 77. It was the same hill he had sledded on when he was a kid.

In later years, Grandpa Carpenter was in an assisted living facility. It was called Shamrock Place but he called it The Rock. He loved to have visitors and to go for rides on the St. Joe River in my dad’s boat. We had poker parties for his birthday every year (and they have continued in his memory!).

We miss you, Grandpa Carpenter!