Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mamo

As soon as I made a commitment to write a post once a week, I could think of absolutely nothing to write about for two and a half weeks. I haven't been able to blog.  There have been no clever status updates.  Heck, there have been no status updates. Period. Nothing. Totally uninspired as of late. I am also losing every Words With Friends game I'm currently playing.  My world is in a tailspin and I blame the economy.

Also, I'm really trying to get through all six seasons of Lost, but I mostly blame the economy.

Here's what I managed to pull together.

It's about my grandmother and yes, it's totally random so you'll have to work through your own clever transition after this sentence ends.

My grandmother used to tell me that everything was 'down yonder'.  It really didn’t matter what it was.  If I asked a question that began with the word ‘where’, without even looking up, she would wave her hand and reply that it was “down yonder”.  It was where her friend Mildred lived, where the toy store was and it was also the location of anything I was looking for in her house. 

Obviously, I used to think it was an actual place.  I thought the coolest people and things were in Down Yonder and I desperately wanted to go there and I often wondered if so many of the things she needed were residing Down Yonder…why didn’t she just move?

As I got older, though, I realize that "down yonder" was just my grandmother’s way of saying, “Look, I don’t feel like explaining where it is right now.”

My grandmother was perhaps the oldest person I ever knew.  We called her Mamo (pronounced MOM-O) and even when she wasn’t old, she was old. 

She did things old people did.  You know what I’m talking about.  The things people from another era did…that era that freely drank tap water and had no idea what a revolution, “cut film cover to vent,” would be for future generations of moms.  She was from that era. 

She did crazy things like sweep her carpet in one direction after vacuuming instead of kicking teddy graham crumbs under her couch so she wouldn't feel them when she walked. She washed aluminum foil to reuse instead of having every size Lock and Lock QVC ever put on Easy Pay.  She burned her trash in a can in the back yard instead of chasing the recycling man down the street in her nightgown at 7:30AM every Wednesday morning.

While I spend my evenings trying to decide if everyone in my house would agree to a dinner of wheat thins and a spoonful of peanut butter, she was happily ironing my grandfather’s pajamas and making a meal with options that rivaled Golden Corral.  

One of the really quirky things about my grandmother was her need to make all things even. Never did this commitment show itself more than at Christmas.  Stockings were all about “evening the score”.   She was adamant that she spend the exact same amount of money on everyone...to the penny.

I said, to the penny.

One year, she put a can of soup and $1.45 in nickels and dimes in my father’s stocking so it would be equal to what she spent on my uncle.

Another year,  I was the one who came up short.  That year I opened a box of accessories for my Dickens Christmas Village.  There were trees and walkways, benches and street lamps. Finally, I got to the bag of fake snow. It was the box that was going to forever change the way my village of tiny people permanently celebrating Christmas would operate.  For so long, they been without accessorization (no, its not a word), and all that was about to change.  

The catch was…I had no Christmas village. I had no Dickens Village…no 1950’s themed small town Christmas…

Sadly, this 13 year-old was village-less.  

I panicked a little.  I had visions of my grandmother coming over to see the village in all its glory and staring at a stark mini landscape of benches, walkways and street lamps covered in synthetic snow, wondering where the buildings and people went.  

Would she buy that it was a Roanoke Christmas Village?  Or maybe I could feign the same shock she was registering and assure her that FEMA was on its way.  Whatever the solution was, I would not, could not admit that I had no village.  It was a secret I would take to my grave.  It was Christmas, after all, and it was the attempt at being monetarily equal that counted.

I wrote the obligatory thank you note and tried to put some thoughtful detail into the card.  My mother liked for our thank you notes to be specific.  After all, if she had to muster up an entire thank you note about the owl collection that Mamo kept adding to each year despite my mother's insistence that she thought owls were creepy and she most definitely did not have a collection of them, then I could write a sentence about Christmas village accessories. 

Dear Mamo,

Wow…what a fun time we had at Christmas this year.  I enjoyed all the food and time we spent together.  Thank you so much for your generosity.  I know that in addition to the winter coat, I will really enjoy setting up my lamp post and tree accessories.  It's going to be a really fun challenge to figure out where to put everything. I know I will get a lot of use out of my goose shaped book light and you know I look forward to that horse calendar every year.  

Thank you for your thoughtfulness,
Rachel

2 comments:

Fayelle said...

So that's why I'm beating you in Words. I was thinking something wasn't right in the universe after telling my mom you slaughter me every time.

Oh, old people. What can't they do? It's so endearing... like the aunt who has sent me a pair of thick winter gloves every year for the past 15 years. Years mostly spent in GEORGIA. I love it!

MsBoyd said...

My granny never believed I got mosquito bites. I would hold up whatever body part was afflicted and she would just say "It's all in your head." "But Granny, my arm is all bitten up!" "Well, we don't have mosquitoes in Ohio."
This is also the same lady who told she didn't want me to gain weight while I was visiting as she was offering me second and third helpings of food.