Friday, July 19, 2013

The Armpit

As stated earlier, we spent two weeks every summer in a hot, dusty farm town close to the Rio Grande with my mother's parents. The first week without our mother; the second week with.

Grandmother rose at 5:00 a.m. to read the paper and eat poached eggs. Granddad rose a little after that and went to the store he ran with my great uncle. It was your average American drug store complete with soda fountain and counter top seating.

Grandmother was a retired school teacher. She taught English to middle school students for thirty years. Words, books, and the structure of sentences were her hobbies. The gift she wanted from the district to commemorate her retirement was an Oxford English Dictionary. The book was huge. You could tone your arm muscles with it. (But don't let Grandmother catch you at that.)

To continue:

Grandmother rose at 5:00 a.m. and read the paper from beginning to end. She kept a red pencil at her side and carefully edited their mistakes. Then she'd put the corrected paper in the mail and send it to the newspaper office -- "The Valley Morning Star". She entitled it, "The Valley Morning Disappointment".

We rose at 7:00 and went for our Cheerios. She kept the cereal in the largest circular Tupperware I've ever seen. We scooped them out with this little cup, then shook liquid saccharine on top to give our breakfast sweetness.

Grandmother had diabetes. No sugar in her house -- except for emergencies.

We sat at the table, swinging our legs and eating our Cheerios while she patiently underlined misspelled words in her reading material. Her eyebrows were always raised, her glasses always perched on her nose. She wore her satin robe and gown, sipped her coffee, and shook her head at supposedly qualified writers.

If she were reading this, I wonder how many mistakes she would find.

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