Monday, May 31, 2010

Grandma Amnesty

My grandmother lived between her children and virtually everything else in their lives. If they wanted to go to church, to the grocery store, downtown, the gas station, etc. , they had to go past her house. And it would be nice, if they would stop once in awhile when on their way just so see if she needed us to get some sour cream as long as we were going to National Tea, or maybe she wanted to ride along just to visit. Or, perhaps it would be nice, since she lived so close just to stop by and spend forty-five minutes to an hour visiting her. Who knows what all can happen in those twenty-two hours you were away? Visiting duties were handed down and distributed to all the children, as they walked by on the way to getting groceries, or going to and from school, or walking by the house for any reason at all. It was especially difficult to elude them in the summer, since they spent a lot of time sitting on the front porch. They controlled the 4th Street Bridge. As my brother used to say "Customs -- check your bags!" Although we loved Grandma very much, sometimes we only had an hour, and if we spent it visiting Grandma, we wouldn't actually accomplish anything else. Eventually, since it seemed we spent all of our time there visiting, and doing nothing else, there was no new experience to share. One of us would crack, and walk right by - just a wave in case they were looking out the window. (it was a little harder to do this when they were sitting on the front porch.)

But then came the dilemma. Now that the cycle has been broken, how to ever go back? What amnesty was there for the poor lost soul who had so neglected them? The wayward daughter or grandchild lived in disgrace.

Here is the paradox: The longer you do not visit, the worse it shall be for you to do the re-entry. My aunt was a lot better at this than my parents. She'd come with a cake or a pork roast, and stay for dinner, taking the leftovers home in one of Grandma's dishes.

One couldn't just go back pretending that one had not so much as checked to see that they weren't both lying dead on the floor. How could anyone just fritter away their time going to and fro in the earth as if there were no ancestors at all!

There was no amnesty. You could come crawling back apologetic, and hope that they would forgive you. You might come along with someone who had been fulfilling their duties, and this would soften the scolding, and give them an extra visitor, too. But it was up to them to welcome you back. If only you could prove yourself worthy.

And so, some of you may have noticed that I have not posted anything since March.... Do I have to pop around with a car-full of pork roasts and cakes?
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