Sunday, November 07, 2010

For Grandma, Queen of the Piggly Wiggly

My first reminder that the holidays are quickly approaching is the festive Starbuck's christmas cup. And with the approaching holidays, my thoughts always turn to my Grandmother. She's been gone for a while now and the holidays just aren't the same without her. When we were kids, Grandma was the center of every holiday. Imagine a house, a tiny house at that, with about 12-15 adults, and about 20 kids, all crammed in, all talking loudly, all eating. Did I mention eating? Grandma cooked enough for a small army. And even though we could probably pass for a small army, there was always food leftover. After we ate until we were in induced into a carb-coma, the men and boys usually got together for a game of football down at the local high school. Sometimes my cousins and I went exploring. We had a fondness for the "drainage ditch" down the street from Grandma's, which we were forbidden to explore. It never stopped us. We always got caught. And we always got into trouble. Sometimes, my cousin Troy and I (we were the oldest) would stretch the cord to the rotary telephone into my Grandma's room, lock the door, and make prank phone calls. The old school kind like, "Is your refigerator runnining?" and "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" At the end of the long, tiring day, Grandma would always let us spend the night, all the cousins. We would stay up all night, climbing over her furniture, playing quicksand. Our feet could never touch the floor as we worked ourselves from one end of the tiny house to the other.

I miss her so much. She was a true Grandma, always trying to feed us and always telling us, each and every one of us, how special we were...how much she loved us. She treated us all equally.

This is a piece that I wrote about her about 20 years ago in my first creative writing class. I wanted to post it here, in her memory. I love you, Grandma. We all miss you.

Queen of the Piggly Wiggly

When Grandma slipped, it happened in slow motion. First her short left leg, clad in white support hose, went out from under her, and then the other. She landed with thud right in the middle of the produce section of Piggly Wiggly. "Oh, Lord!" she said, mashing down her perfectly sprayed, rinsed-brown hair. I thought she was really hurt until she started rocking and moaning, then I knew she was all right. She loved an audience. She told me to find the manager, which I did. He was just a kid, with a middle-aged man aura, like he was put out when you spoke to him. He wore a short, thick moustache that sat on his thin, top lip like a Chihuahua. When we finally got to her, she was still sitting there, dress properly pulled down over her puffy knees, legs straight out in front her, feet pointed towards the ceiling and toes tapping together. There were three of four blue-haired women standing around her, leaning on their carts, listening to her like she was Jesus as she told them the story of how she fell. The nervous, boy/man manager rolled his eyes and cleared his throat and asked, "Are you okay, ma'm?" My Grandma looked up at him and I thought she had never looked so beautiful, sitting there on the green-and-white tiled floor of the Piggly Wiggly with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables surrounding her and I swear I almost told her that, but what I said was, "Get up, Grandma" and that's what she did.

I should have told her how beautiful she was.

8 comments:

Brian Miller said...

oh this is beautiful...brought back great memories of afternoons at grammas house as well...we used to play in the creek that wrapped around her property..she is the only gandparent i have left...i need to give her a call...

Diahn said...

There are so many good things about this post, I'm having a hard time coming up with anything to say.

It's crazy, I know.

Lisa said...

Oh, Grandma, we miss you indeed. I love the way you tell a story. Every image, from the puffy knees to the rainbow of fruits and veggies, is just so, so good. Thanks for sharing this poem--it is one of my favorites :)
um, my verification word is orediti--like a cross between oragami and some kind of pasta.

A. Troy Foster said...

Beautiful, Melinda...just like Grandma. It's funny how food played such a large role in her life and in the memories we have of her. Oh and my verification word is "agnesi"--I think that is Latin plural meaning a large group of women all named Agnes???

Sport Thought said...

Some memories of people do take your breath away. Thank you for the reminder.

Mark said...

Your memories brought back great memories for me. Grandmas are something, aren't they?
And playing quick sand? I haven't thought of that in 50 years. I love it.

Dan Kent said...

Wow you wrote that in your first creative writing class?! You better keep writing! I love the scene, the personality, conveyed in such a shore paragraph. My favorite memory of my favorite grandma is when she pointed at cows in a field we were passing in the car and said, all excitedly, "Look at the sheep!"

sheri said...

hello dear melinda! thanks so much for coming by and giving me a hug :) and yes, i am going to share the story, a little at a time so that i can spend some time catching up on my favorite writers, hint-hint! your grandma story brought tears to my eyes as i remembered my own grandma, the one who left my life way too early! your writing was so beautiful...even twenty years ago!! and your one stop poetry offering...lucious...can i go with you when you leave again ;)