‘What are these for? You only bring me flowers when you’ve done something good.’
‘Son, your mother and I don’t even recognize you anymore. You’ve become some sort of twisted animal.’
Dear Darling Son and That Person You Married,
I hope you are well. Please don’t worry about me. I’m just fine considering I can’t breathe or eat. The important thing is that you have a nice holiday, thousands of miles away from your ailing mother. I’ve sent along my last ten dollars in this card, which I hope you’ll spend on my beautiful grandchildren, who I never see. God knows their mother never buys them anything nice. They look anemic in their pictures, poor, thin babies.
Thank you so much for the birthday flowers, dear boy. I put them in the freezer so they’ll stay fresh for my grave. I know I’ll need them any day. Which reminds me — we buried Aunt Lucy last week. I know she died years ago, but I got to yearning for a good funeral, so Aunt Minnie and I dug her up and had the services all over again. I would have invited you, but I know that woman you live with would have never let you come. I bet she’s never even watched that videotape of my hemorrhoid surgery, has she? I am still suffering.
Well son, it’s time for me to drag myself to bed now. I lost my cane beating off muggers last week, but don’t you worry about me. I’m also getting used to the cold since they turned my heat off and am grateful because the frost on my bed numbs the constant pain. Now don’t you even think about sending any more money, because I know you need it for those expensive family holidays you take every year, though you never come see me. Give my love to my darling grand-babies and my regards to whatever-her-name-is — the one with the black roots who stole you screaming from my bosom.
Love Always, Your poor, old mother
My two grandmothers were a lovely pair. Saccharin sweet to each other, they sat with veiled claws, looking for a chance to swipe at the other.
Grandma: “Well , you looking healthy. I believe you put on a few pounds.”
Maw Maw: “No ma’am. My weight’s been falling off some. I got some old dresses I was gonna offer you, but ‘pears now they might be too little for you.”
GM: “Your’s would be way to big, but I don’t need ’em anyhow. My son took me shopping and bought me six dresses when I was out at his house. He could have just bought me a bus ticket, but he wanted to come get me in his new car. It sure is good to see your kids doing good, isn’t it? Did your girl, Bettie’s, husband ever get a job after he lost that one last time I was down here? Now isn’t he the one who drinks a little?””
MM: “None of my kids drinks. You must be think in’ a’some o’ yore folks. Jack’s moved to a job makin’ twenty more a week. My young’uns might not’a gone to college like yourn, but they all got good jobs. I brought a cake. I know Pore Ol’ Bill loves a cake an’ Kathaleen don’t have him something sweet ever’day like I always did!”
If not interrupted, this could go on indefinitely, trading swipe after swipe. Mother tried to intercede if she heard Grandma might be about to hit the motherlode, ferreting out just how long Cousin Yvonne was married before the baby came or discover that Cousin Ross was in the pen for robbing a filling station. Should all else fail, Grandma could hit us kids up for tidbits of information that could be stitched together to satisfy her curiosity.
A dear friend died this weekend. He’d suffered for years, rarely complaining. He was the best father I’ve ever known, even doing little girl hairdos with matching bows to socks and dresses. His cardiac illness was first diagnosed twenty-three years ago, when his girls were tiny. Thankfully, he recovered some cardiac function, enabling him to guide his daughters into warm, lovely adults. Though it has to break their hearts to lose him, what a blessing it is his family had that twenty-three years. The girls knew a great father instead of always hearing what a wonderful father he would have been.
What a blessing to be whole again after so many years of pain and struggle. We’ll miss you, Randy. Our tears are only for ourselves.
The best part of family is the coziness and love between generations. When I visit my little guy, I love snuggling and telling him stories of his choosing. We get comfortable and turn the lights low. As I tuck in him in his quilt, he asks “Gwamma, tell me a story.” Continue reading
Repost of earlier post:
Shay woke early between Kay-Lonnie and Lena but their eyes were already open, waiting for her. They never wiggled till she woke, seeming to breathe the same air, thinking the same thoughts. Her big sister Susie pulled the quilt over her curly head on the other side of the big bed, grumping about Shay’s cold feet. Continue reading