Hello My Wonderful Readers!
Let’s celebrate the grandparents of the world, shall we…:)
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To this day I can’t walk down the street with someone I love and be separated by something without saying “Bread and Butter.” Whether it be a pole, a person, anything really. It’s second nature, having been instilled in me as a little boy, back when Grandma used to take me out to the mall. A superstition to be said so as not to have anything come between one’s love for another, it was a saying that had been in our family since before she could even remember, nobody knowing where it actually came from.
That’s what I liked most about Grandma. She was a link to the past. A glimpse into an era that had had its time and had since long past, the few remaining souls who had lived it now like walking museums, most of those who came after not seeing the value of the stories they possessed.
When I look back on my childhood, and beyond for that matter, I feel so grateful for not having been among the ignorant, children my age usually preferring to hang out with peers rather than a grandparent. Not me, I always looked forward to our day at the mall, taking in a movie while eating peanut brittle or banana chips, window shopping, book browsing. We must have circled that mall hundreds of times throughout the years, but Grandma somehow made each go-round feel unique and special.
And then there were the life lessons that came along with such fun, her old sayings becoming stories to learn from. Sayings I still find myself murmuring whenever life presents a fitting circumstance…
Someone mentions something random: What’s that got to do with the price of beans?
Some hard head who refuses to budge: Can’t get blood out of a turnip.
Some Captain A-Hole (a title she loved to give those who fit it) who’s faced with embarrassing humility: Eat humble pie.
And then there were the times when such wisdom extended to moments so profound, their impact so deep, that it would forever change you right on the spot.
One of these life-changing moments came about when we were enjoying a couple of Orange Julius’. I was sixteen at the time, and a few Captain A-Holes around my age had come over from the nearby arcade to have a drink. Right away they started in with their snide remarks.
“You ever hear the one about Granny Goose and Chicken Little in the orange grove? He couldn’t peel his own orange, so he had his granny do it with her fake teeth. Then she took ‘em out and fed him mouth-to-mouth like the lil’ chicken-doo he was.”
They all laughed in our direction before starting in with another.
“I hate how grapes shrivel up to wrinkle old raisins. So disgusting only a Chicken Little would peck at ‘em.”
Their verbal abuse towards us was becoming all too apparent, and I just wanted to get out of there. “Come on Grandma, let’s go,” I said while standing to my feet. But she placed a hand on mine. “We’ll finish our drinks first.”
Then the most direct of their insults came our way.
“The only thing worse than a wrinkled old raisin is one that tries to act like a spring chicken. You know, puttin’ their hair up, tryin’ to impress four-eyed bird-brain Chicken Little.”
Grandma had on a headband and I wore glasses.
She rose to her feet, but I knew it wasn’t to leave. “Grandma, it’s ok, let’s just leave. Rise above it, right?” I said.
Her hand still on mine, she padded it a bit while imparting some of her vast knowledge. “Sometimes the answer is not to rise above, as the problem will still be there when you eventually have to come back down. It is during these times when you must delve straight in, with a vengeance.”
She then took the tray our drinks had been on and walked over to the Captain A-Holes, without any warning striking the surface of their table so hard with the tray that it sent a very loud WHACK throughout the small restaurant, even shocking those behind the counter.
“You ever see a granny goose attack?!” Grandma demanded to know. She used her face and fingers in the most disturbing of contortions to deliver her point. “They don’t just peck, they dig in and twist!”
The hoodlums were frozen in fear, not knowing if this crazy ol’ lady was going to do as she explained…
“Sinking their beak around an eyeball, wrenching it out of its socket as it POPS, until it snaps off of its optic nerve, shrinking down to the size of a wrinkled old raisin.”
“Tell you the truth…”
Grandma leaned in close to the one that had been most vocal, to where they were eye-to-eye. “I could use a few.”
Shocked, embarrassed, bewildered, the kid looked as though he was about to piss his pants. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled. Then got up and headed straight out, his cohorts right behind him.
That little lesson in psychological defense helped ensure that I was never bullied again, Grandma’s Oscar-worthy performance in cRaZy helping me realize that nothing scares people more than the threat of having to face such!
The last time I talked with Grandma we both knew she didn’t have much time left. To look at her and know it was for the last time, to know that there would never ever be another trip to the mall, another priceless story from a different era, another tidbit of wisdom from that beautifully-toned voice that was Grandma. I had tried to stay strong, for her, but she could tell it was all I could do to stop myself from breaking down.
Like she had done countless times before, Grandma reached out with her consoling hands, with her consoling voice. “Make hay while the sun shines.”
He looks from the parishioners over to Grandma’s casket.
“Box, six feet of dirt, death itself.
“Nothing will come between us, Grandma.
“Bread and Butter.
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