Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Visiting Granny Grundy

(A real life parable)

by Mary Pitt 

I was taking a drive on the country roads as a break from sitting alone in the house, feeling sorry for myself for having been widowed recently and facing the many pressures involved in re-organizing my life whiile keeping ahead of the bills. The beauty of my beloved prairie was blinding, reminding me of my continuing fight to save my vision. What if I could never again see the clusters of golden flowers blooming beside the road? They seemed to be waiting for the ripening grain to join them as it matures and dazzles us with brilliance for a brief while before being lost in the stark white of winter.

I realized that I was passing the home of Granny Grundy whom I had known so well a very long time ago. Her little house looked much the same. A tiny cottage that was once a farmhouse but the farmland had all been sold off and nothing left but the small yard with a house precisely in the middle. Her flowers still bloomed in the yard and appeared to be carefully tended. On an impulse I stopped, approached and knocked on the door. A middle-aged lady who appeared to be a clone of Granny as she was in my memory told me that she was Ganny's grand-daughter and was living there to care for the place. It seems Granny was living in the assisted living center and insisted that she would return home one day. Her family felt that its continued existence was what was keeping their beloved Granny alive.

Thus propelled, I had to go to the center to once again meet with a good friend whom I had not seen in much too long. I had no idea how old she might be because any inquiries were always met with a stern, "Never ask a lady her age!" I also never knew her given name. Surely she had one but we always referred to her as Granny Grundy, perhaos because we liked the way it sounded. Every child that lived in the area loved to sit in her kitchen, munching cookies and drinking cold milk on a hot summer afternoon. Our parents always knew that if a kid was out of shouting distance, he could be found at Granny's house.

Now the nurse steered me to the end of the long hall where Granny was currently residing. "You won't have long to visit. Sje has a news show on television that she watches religiously every day."

We entered the tiny, all-purpose room that was furnished with a bed, a familiar-looking dresser, and a hospital bed against the wall flanked by two straight chairs. The tiny figure sat in the bentwood-and-cane rocking chair that once graced her living room. Though it was small, her tiny feet barely reached the floor. The nurse announced her visiter and disappeared out the door. The wizened figure in the chair stirred and the piercing black eyes looked me over carefully and critically. Then came the familiar cackle, "Lordy, Girl, git ovah heah where I can look at you bettah!"

Not missing a word as I approached, she continued, "You look jis' as purty as ever! You was always a purty child though I never thought you knowed it. And don't tell me it's jist my agin' eyes. I can see thangs still that I ain't suppse to."

Trying to make conversation, I offered, "Granny, the nurse tells me that you have a favorite TV show coming up in a little while. What do you like to watch?"

I was taken aback as she snapped, "The Ed Show. He's on at 5:00 and I watch him ever' day! He tells the truth and don't give no never-mind whether they like it or not! Then I turn it off for supper and turn it back on for Olberman. I don't watch that Mathews feller."

This was gettting good, so I queried, "Why don't you like Chris Mathews?"

"Because he ain't got no conviction. He's like a dam' football announcer, jis' a-watchin' the game and don't care who wins. Nothin's either right or wrong! He's all about politics and all the same. Now, Ed takes his side and tells you why, So does Keith. Keith is kinda funny lotsa times but he tells 'em what he thinks, too."

"That's a lot of excitement for one night, isn't it? When do you go to bed?" I asked.

"Not till nine o'clock! Gotta watch Rachel. They keep tellin' me she's gay but I don't care. She's a beauty and she works her pretty little hiney off tellin' us what's goin' on."

As she spoke, she got even more animated and sounded like her old, forceful self I asked, "You're interested in the news then? I suppose you also watch some shows on Fox News."

Her answer was underway before I finished my sentence. "Hell, no! Them guys is all nuts over there! That Beck guy is ready for the man in the little white coat! None of 'em is safe to let out at night. Won't waste my time. They's all mad at Jimmy Carter now fer sayin' they's racists. You know they are! I lived in the south an' I lived among the black folk. You heard the sayin' and you know it's true. In the north they don't care how high a black person gits as long as he don't get too close. In the south they don't care how close he gits as long as he don't git too high! An' if anything else, they can't stand a educated black man! That;s why they hates Mr. Obama so bad! He's smarter than they is and he got a little bit too high!!

"Jist 'cause he's black they tries to say that the President is a for'ner. Well, he ain't. Even put his birth s'tificate on the TV but that ain't good enough! They wanta see the one from the hospital, you know the one with his little footprints on that they give the mama to take home. Hell, if anyboidy could find it, they would try to make him take off his size 'lenvens and let 'em see if they looks the same! I tell you, that Jimmy Carter is a fine man. He lives what he b'lieves and he b'lieves in followin' Jesus like it sez in the Good Book! Let me tell you! I lived in the south and I lived among black people and they ain't a dime's worth of difference in the livin'! Them little black bellies hurts when they gets hungry jis' the way the little white ones does! Jimmy knows that.

"All them people that claims to be Christians ain't no part of Jesus! They jis' takes his name but they don't b'lieve in what he b'lieved in. He said to take all yore money and give it to the pore. Didn't say to give it to the preachers and the politicians. You gotta give it to the pore! Directly! When they see a pore person, they jist look the other way and they oughta take 'em home. Give 'em a good meal and a safe place to sleep. Now that's the Jesus I know! Don't know what Jesus they know but I bet it ain't the real thing!

"An' ya know what makes my blood loil? It's them dam Tea-Partiers! They is jis' like the ones in Boston so long ago. They wanta run the gummint but they don't wanta pay no taxes! Rich and spoiled, that's all they is!

"How old are you now, girl? You don't say! I guess it's all in the how you look at it but that don't seem old to me. It kinda crawls up and pounces on ya, don't it? Law, me! Look at the time. Been so good lookin' at you but it's 'most five o'clock! I got a date with a man named Ed! Y'all stop in any time, girl. Y'all come back, y'hear? Maybe I can find a cookie and a glassa cold milk if you let me know you're comin."

I went back down the hall with a spring in my step, forgetting all about the bills, the eye surgery, and all the rest of my cares and worries, feeling younger than springtime and knowing that I will be going back to visit the woman who can teach me how better to live every day as well as how to separate the wheat from the chaff. "God's in His Heaven, all rigbt with the world."

The author is a very "with-it" old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation thathas lost touch with its humanity in the search for "societal perfection".

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