There is a cultural fascination with eating at grandma’s house. Foods made from scratch… with equally unhealthy doses of butter and love. The idea may strike up thoughts of holiday meals that were large enough to cause bloating… thinking back to those meals, it’s hard not to feel uneasy and a desire to loosen the belt at this very moment. I had the prototypical grandma, it seemed as if retirement charged her with the task of getting me to 300 pounds (thankfully she never succeeded). Whenever I visited her there always seemed to be something on the stove and in the oven, my arrival soon followed by an offer of “Can I fix ya a plate, honey?” She was a minute woman with an extraordinarily large heart.
There were elements of get-togethers at my grandma’s house that didn’t fit the Rockwell-style image. She had a mouth and a bad temperament, and my interactions with her, particularly during my youth, molded the cynical and biting words that leave my mouth (and fingers) today. She was a rooted conservative and married a Marine Corps drill sergeant. I’m quite liberal and an expert at non-commitment. Regardless of the meal she prepared, we went back and forth like any of the “personalities” on those awful political shows. Where she hung on every word Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck uttered… I proclaimed their latent homosexual tendencies and fright from a world they could never control predicated on getting beat up by sissy girls during their elementary school days. In short, She heralded their ideals and I picked apart their psyches.
Grandma: “He’s right you know, we need to secure the borders and rid ourselves of immigrants.”
JB: “Flawless logic, grandma. You know we’re immigrants, practically everyone outside of Oklahoma not wearing a feather is an immigrant.”
Grandma: “And that’s not right!”
Grandma: “There were no Mexicans during the Great Depression, they were all in Mexico… where they belong!”
JB: “But you have three of them doing your yard work… at this moment.”
Grandma: “And they do remarkable work. I am just making the best use of how things currently work in this god forsaken country. I tell you, this place is going to complete shit. Want some more Shepherd’s Pie, honey?”
JB: “Glenn Beck has immigrant roots, I’m sure… or, maybe, extraterrestrial.”
Grandma: “You shut your mouth, don’t talk about him like that. What did he do to you?”
JB: “He spoke.”
Grandma: “Honey, you can’t hate like that. It’s not healthy. You’ll never find a girl with sass like that.”
JB: “Your hypocrisy amazes me. Chicks dig guys with hypocritical, spiteful grandmothers.”
Grandma: “Someday you’re going to miss me and feel bad for talking to me like that. What are you going to do when I am dead?”
I never had a response to that last rebuttal because… in a way… I knew she was right. Grandma passed away two years ago and while I was at her funeral, all I could think about was… “Damn it, that old bag was right… I do miss her. I do feel bad for giving her grief.” That being said, I also miss the banter. Wherever she is… I hope she’s serving Shepherd’s Pie and chewing off ears with her inane, hollow, Republican drivel.