bad hoarse

For several years after they passed away, my grandparents’ aluminum mobile home sat vacant and pretty soon it was fenced inside with my little sister’s cranky, man-eating horses and periodically I’d crack myself up pretty good trying to reenact scenes from Mister Ed but after some time had passed I’d get tired of cajoling the entitled, big brats and we’d all go back to minding our own business (but watching our backsides) and then something would happen like this exposure that’s nothing but woodsmoke and reflections but which would give me that distinctly warm and fuzzy cross processed feeling though I’ve never been a card-carrying member of that club.

horses and their girls

Tomorrow I have to go back for a third attempt at a stubborn crown which will not squish down where it’s supposed to go no matter how hard the dentist sits on my head and tugs (and pushes) which reminds me of when I used to stumble upon my grandmother’s dentures soaking for the night on the formica vanity in this little sea-foam colored, oval plastic number. Nigh impossible was it to resist the closer examination of that disembodied, grotesquely pink mouth which I found only slightly less horrifying (but not as uproariously funny) than Grandma’s comically gummy smile first thing in the morning after a sleepover, she always let me have her room. She’d make me her special pancakes on the gas griddle and I’d read the funnies or sports pages and then maybe I’d Windex the windows for her and don’t forget that would be the era during which time the special formula was something like a hundred and ten percent ammonia, which I couldn’t get enough of inside each deep breath, which sure may go a long way toward explaining a thing or two, I am turning into such a dadblame idiot these days.  Or maybe we’d sit across from each other in the living room and gab. She and I used to watch television soap operas together, after school. I’ll never forget one of the last Christmases we spent at home, after Grandpa had died and Grandma moved in with my parents and the house was happy but claustrophobic as hell so in the middle of a wicked snowstorm every single one of us ended up with such a raging case of diahrrea that no one will ever forget the Winter of 1999 and on the flight home to Seattle right at the unfortunate twenty four hour Got it Bad, Real Bad apex I became exquisitely in touch with nerve endings I didn’t know existed.

The boys find it uproariously funny when I tell them stories about what a big ol’ tattle-tail (tattle-tail tattle-tail, hangin’ by the bull’s tail, when the bull begins to pee, you’ll get a cup of tea!) their great-grandma, was. She had eyes in the back of her head and we constantly got caught sneaking around up on the hill in the soaringly-high barn hayloft tracking down feral kittens or hiding out in the abandoned, falling-down farmhouse which was deadly as all get-out but offered unforgettable adventures. When she started shouting for Grandpa someplace who-knows-where out in the barnyard doing something extremely concentration-sensitive with oily machines, you knew it was time to get outta dodge but it was customary to circle around and stop by at the trailer to sit with her. Lord, I miss her real bad.

10 thoughts on “bad hoarse

  1. Sounds like the ammonia didn’t destroy any memory cells, and you’ve got nice clear recollections of your grandmother, which I enjoyed (except for the 1999 stomach bug part) I like your smoke & mirror photo a lot.

    • Thanks on the photograph, Robert. If only there was a way to convey the wierd distortion of that picture, all the abstract transposition of the multiple landscapes in the reflection, it was one of those little delightful no big dealios like a two dollar bill!!! Hope the apartment situation isn’t leaky pipes or catatonic roommates, take care and have a good weekend.

  2. Great little memoir piece TF. I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I think about the impressions I had of old folks when I was young–their teeth, or lack there of, their toe nails, their varicose veins–you know, all the good stuff. And here I am. What goes around comes around, and I will soon enough be gross in every way to young people and will have to rely entirely on my wit and good humor and now as a result of your post, I will know enough at least to not be a tattle tale!

    • Thanks for saving me a little, Ilona. Wrote that in bed far, far too late the other evening (and I’m not a night owl but it was just the boys and I which makes it hard for me to sleep sometimes) and was feeling like maybe I’d jumped the shark but I’m trying to not be as much of a slave to quality control when it comes to my journal, you know just let some things spill out (within reason) leaving it to dribble down the wall. And btw, your wit and good humor will carry you far, haha! Missed your last essay somehow, probably because it was the first week of school, I’ll catch up. Hope this finds you doing well, been firing up the heating pad up here, too…

  3. Hi Jason: Love this image, and I love the grandma story too. It evokes sweet memories of my grandma and how she cared for me one summer when my sister was in the hospital and my parents had their hands full dealing with her illness. Hope all is well with you. I’m challenged these days to find time to write. Oh well.

    • Louise, it’s so nice to hear from you. We were just at Camp Long several weeks ago so the boys could pretend they were mountain climbers, after wandering the Junction (i like the art store up there or to look at records). It’s always a privilege for me to read the connections others draw to their own lives or interesting memories. Is it okay if I ask how come your sister was in the hospital? Don’t worry, I bet you’ll find the time to write, soon. I’ve had so many frustrating, very extended hiatuses from my journal over the years, effectively starting over as it were, I’m evidence almost anyone can dust off and find their way back. You’ll stay part of this elite rainy day writer corps, I just know it!!!

      • I do want to find time to write again, so thanks for the encouragement, Jason. As a preschooler, my sister had an awful case of German measles. It was complicated by some rare disease that caused much of her skin to peel. She was placed in isolation in the hospital to protect her from germs, bacteria, etc, until she healed. Her recovery took weeks and I stayed with my grandma during this time.

  4. I hope your next visit to the dentist will finally result in a successful coronation, dear T-Fir. In the meantime, what a wonderful collection of memories you’ve shared for your readers to sink their teeth into! I loved your gorgeous, otherworldly image of the horse — and your little snippets of childhood too, each a perfect snapshot. Isn’t it funny the things we remember about our youth? I’m grateful you’re keeping her memory alive through your stories.

    • Dunno if this is really true but Minnesotans are apparently so utterly nice they won’t tell people they’re awful, hopeless or completely goofy even if they flat-out deserve it (although bless his heart Prince reportedly declared the cold weather up there keeps the bad people out) and btw that goofy crown is finally on, the dentist got it perfect but mercy he and his helpers reminded me each failed appointment to stay the devil away from taffy which I don’t even really care for to begin with and so now I can’t shake the feeling somehow I must find some and have at it…..

      • What a relief to hear that you’ve finally been crowned! I hope this means you can finally have that taffy. Or move your family to Buckingham Palace! Either way: What a relief it must be.

        As for the relative niceness of Minnesotans, make no mistake that we do speak our minds when something is truly awful. But no such utterances could ever be necessary in your case, so I’ll save my condemnations (“Darn it to heck,” and “That’s different”) for someone else. Like the guy this morning who was trying to break a land-speed record in my company’s parking ramp, for instance. $@#!

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