Standing beside the blue velvet chair, so smooth under my fingers. So pretty. Music filling the room. Bluegrass. Grandpa playing his mandolin, Daddy playing the violin. Aunt Mary playing the piano. Chording. I don’t know what that means.
The music vibrates through me. My family playing faster and faster. Laughing.
“Turkey In The Straw.”
Dust-smelling upholstery. Riding in the back Grandma and Grandpa’s tan coup. Bump. Go. Bump. Go. The tires hitting each seam in the highway.
Sitting on Grandma Christie’s lap. On one side of the great round table, so huge it covered the room nearly wall to wall. Cleared after Sunday’s dinner. The dishes done and put away.
“Your necklace is pretty, Grandma.” They are cool beneath my little fingers.
“You can have my pearls when I die.”
“When are you going to die?”
“When you are sixteen.”
She handed me a tiny set of pink kitchen appliances.
”Grandma, you don’t have very good toys.”
“It’s that or nothing.”
Grandma on her knees. Me on my knees beside here.
“What are you doing, Grandma?”
“I’m dividing the iris.”
“Because they get too crowded and won’t grow right.”
Walking through Grandma’s front yard, past the little hollyhock tree. The smell of cedar.
Stepping down two little steps between the tall bushes blocking the road, blocking the dust.
Grandpa’s big milk can, smelling of fresh milk. Getting the mail.
The first time I stayed over, it was fun.
The second time, Grandma was angry about something.
Grandpa always brought us a little surprise. Raisins in a tiny box, most often.
Dinner was blackberry pie from the thorn bushes and melting vanilla ice-cream.
Walking out to the barn with Grandpa. He was eating Tums. I couldn’t have any. They are medicine.
Sitting on a stool. Watching him milk the cow. Enjoying him gently tease me.
Asking Grandma why she had so many cracks in her tongue.
Watching Grandma Make biscuits, pulling flour from a brown-sugar colored half-gallon jar. Knowing we would cover them with real butter and sweet molasses.
Watching her put away her Fiesta dinnerware. A riot of color.
Sitting at Grandma’s makeup dresser. Carefully lifting the glass lid to the powder jar. My mother yelling at me. Grandma saying it was alright.
Going up the dark stairs to Aunt Mary’s room at night. Coming back down, saying I was scared. Grandma’s no nonsense, go back upstairs now. I did.
Grandma and Grandpa coming over. I begged her to come out and play with me. Daddy saying she didn’t feel good. Her over-riding him and joining me.
Pushing a boundary too far. She takes a little switch off of a tree and switches me. It hurt. I still love her. I knew why she did it.
Sitting in the kitchen for breakfast, next to her huge iron wood-burning cooking stove. The eggs are over-easy. I say I can’t eat them. I say my daddy can’t eat them either.
Grandpa said: Think of all the starving children in China.
I did. And decided I didn’t care about the kids over there.
Grandpa taking his rifle and going down into the woods to hunt squirrels. He was well into his 70’s.
He said: Don’t watch me clean them, you won’t be able to eat them.
I said: Yes, I will.
Going up to Grandpa, where he lay on the sofa. Sleeping?
Little kids big whispers to my little sisters, Susan and Mary: Is he asleep?
He opens his eyes.
Grandpa said: I wasn’t asleep. I was just resting my eyes.
Going up town with Grandpa. Hitting the rounds of his friends. The grain elevator. The general store. He puts me on the counter and buys me a 7-Up! All of my own. I don’t have to share it!
Entertaining myself with the water-cooled pop machine. A marvel.
Grandma’s rose-patterned dresses. Grandpa’s suspenders and hat.
Heart attack. I don’t know what that is. I just known I’m sad. I miss him.
Feeding Grandma ice-chips. She was dying of something. I don’t know what. Driving six hours home. Aunt Hazel comes running out of her house, crying. Grandma died. She waited for me to come say goodbye.
But I was only seven. She was supposed to live until I was 16.
Nothing. A black dark screen. All my child’s memories of them are over…..
Copyright 2016 by Gloria Christie. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.