As I hold my tiny granddaughter, I remember melting into my grandma’s pillowy softness and smelling her Cashmere Bouquet Talcum Powder unaware she’d ever played any role but “Grandma.” Though I’d always heard Mother address her as “Mama” I stung with jealousy when I found out Grandma actually was her mother. I felt as though they’d somehow cheated me by knowing each other first. My first conscious memory was of toddling barefoot behind Grandma as we headed out to see her chickens. I spotted a road-grader and strayed off the path to investigate, stepping into a nest of sand-burrs, those mean little stickers that hide in short grass. I howling as Grandma hurried over with her flat-edged shovel and seated me on it as she pulled the stickers out of my tender feet.
We went on to check on the chickens where Grandma praised Della, her Dominecker Hen for laying a double-yoked egg yesterday, remarking to the others they might consider doing the same. She told Sally not to start acting “Broody.” She didn’t have enough eggs to “set” her yet. She counted her chickens and found Susie missing. Grandma got a long stick and poked under bushes till she flushed Susie out from her “stolen” nest. I felt so important crawling way under the bush bringing back two warm eggs. Chiding Juanita, a ornerny red hen, she threatened to invite her to Sunday Dinner, saying “You’ll make some mighty fine dumplings if you don’t lay a couple of eggs this week!” I wasn’t that invested in Juanita and don’t recall whether we had dumplings or not.
The barn fascinated me most of all as I peeked through the crack between its chained doors at the child’s table and chairs stored in its mysterious shadowy interior. My grandparents and uncle had only rented the furnished house. The barn and its contents were off limits to me. Nothing could have made it more desirable as I imagined the treasures it held. Surely, there was a tricycle, a wagon, and since it was a barn, of course, a pony! The longer I was denied, the more the list grew. Never was a child so deprived or tormented by desire.
I do hope my little one recalls sweet stories of our our times together one day.
Dear Auntie Linda, I just can’t stand my daughter’s husband. I tried to get her not to marry him. He will never make a good living. He’s dumb, kind of dumpy, doesn’t dress well. Sometimes he even wears overalls when they come over. Carrie was raised better than this. We gave her every advantage. She had music and dance lessons, went to a good college. He’s moved her to an old farm house way out in the sticks. All she talks about now is her canning, her garden, raising bees, and her chickens. She and the kids run around barefoot half the time. I’d be so embarrassed if my friends ever saw how they live. Why on earth would she throw her life away like this when she could do so much better. Disappointed
Dear Disappointed, Sounds like Carrie has found just the life she wants. The most important thing here is this man is your daughter’s choice. If he is a good husband and treats her and the children well, that is all that matters. You don’t have to live with the man. Just because she and her husband doesn’t see things the way you do, doesn’t mean they are wrong or that he is dumb. It wouldn’t hurt to put your feelings to the side and spend a little time with them. You might learn something. There is a lot to be said for the simpler life. Hard work and living close to nature can be very satisfying and nurture your soul. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, My twenty-eight-year old daughter is heavily into drug-use. She and her five-year-old daughter, Jasmine, have always lived with me. My daughter, Vanessa, never held a job or lived a responsible life, though from time to time, she does better than others. I tolerate her in my home, though she has stolen from me, because I don’t have legal custody of her daughter. Though Vanessa, has had arrests, she has never been incarcerated, nor lost parental privileges. She uses her daughter as a hostage to manipulate me into giving her money quite often. My greatest fear is that she will take Jasmine and run. What can I do to protect Jasmine? Distraught Grandma
Dear Distraught, Probably wouldn’t hurt to talk to lawyer just in case Vanessa escalates. Any chance of intervention or rehab? Auntie Linda Linda
A small balding man storms into a local bar and demands, “Gimme a double of the strongest whiskey you got. I’m so mad, I can’t even see straight.” The bartender, noticing that the little man is a bit the worse for wear, pours him a double of Southern Comfort. The man swills down the drink and says, “Gimme another one.” The bartender pours the drink, but says, “Now, before I give you this, why don’t you let off a little steam and tell me why you’re so upset?” So, the man begins his tale. “Well, I was sitting in the bar next door, when this gorgeous blonde slinks in and actually sits beside me at the bar. I thought, “Wow, this has never happened before.” You know, it was kind of a fantasy come true. Well, a couple of minutes later, the blonde leans over and asks if I’d like to come back to her hotel to have dinner and talk for a while. I couldn’t believe this was happening, r and I hadn’t had a good meal in quite a while. I managed to nod my head yes, so she grabs my hand and starts walking out of the bar. This seemed just too good to be true.” He continued, “She took me down the street here to a nice hotel and up to her room. She said to relax, watch some TV, and that she would be ready to go down to the restaurant in a few minutes. But, as soon as I put my feet up and reclined my chair, I heard some keys jingling and someone starts fumbling with the door.” “The blonde says, ‘Oh my god, it’s my boyfriend. He must have lost his wrestling match tonight, he’s gonna be real mad. Quick, hide!'” “So, I opened the closet, but I figured that was probably the first place he would look, so I didn’t hide there. Then I looked under the bed, but no, I figured he’s bound to look there, too. By now, I could hear the key in the lock. I noticed the window was open, so I climbed out and wa s hanging there by my fingers, praying that the guy wouldn’t see me.” The bartender says “Well I can see how you might be a bit frustrated at this point.” “Well, yeah, but I hear the guy finally get the door open and he yells out, ‘Who you been with now, you witch?’ The girl says, ‘Nobody, honey, now calm down.'” Well, the guy starts tearing up the room. I hear him tear the door off the closet and throw it across the room. I’m thinking, ‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t hide in there.’ Then I hear him lift up the bed and throw it across the room. Good thing I didn’t hide under there either. Then I heard him say, ‘What’s that over there by the window?’ I think, ‘Oh God, I’m dead meat now.’ But, the blonde by now is trying real hard to distract him and convince him to stop looking. Well, I hear the guy go into the bathroom and I hear water running for a long time; I figure maybe he’s gonna take a bath or something, when all of a sudden, the jerk pours a pitcher of scalding hot water out of the window right on top of my head. I mean, look at this, I got second degree burns all over my scalp and shoulders!” The bartender says, “Oh man, that would have gotten me mad for sure.” “No, that didn’t really bother me. Next, the guy starts slamming the window shut over and over on my hands. I mean, look at my fingers. They’re a bloody mess. I can hardly hold onto this glass.” The bartender looks at the guy’s hands and says, “Yeah, buddy, I can understand why you are so upset.” “No, that wasn’t what really got me so angry though.” The bartender then asks in exasperation, “Well, then, what did finally make you anger?” “Well, I was hanging on the window, and I turned around and looked down–I was only about six inches off the ground.”
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