So. It’s been four days since Gram showed up to my door unannounced, driven in a tow truck that also special delivered her crumpled-up red sports car, and with said crusty old bird towing a young college student by his pecker. It’s been four days of fun times spent with the mangy dog that is my grandmother, and not so fun times of cleaning up after her. As my grandmother’s presence often sets fire to my ADHD, I’ll make every effort to provide concise elucidations on the subjects addressed.
We fixed a BBQ together Sunday afternoon whereat the dogs and I were responsible for the meat and corn-on-the-cob, and Gram took charge of the potato salad and pinto beans. Since Gram is, as she calls herself, “Tha best pinter beanies cookerator in all a Travis County and abouts,” she’s the chief bean chef whenever beans are on the menu. Unless it’s green beans or soy beans.
“I ain’t fixin’ no eat ur mammy beaners, Mooner, ain’t eatin’ um neithers. Fuckin’ Russian fart pellets iff’n ya ask me. Doc Ashburn flinches ever time he sees me anymore,” she told me when I asked her to cook beans for the BBQ.
“If you’d chew your food better, Gram, you’d have much less gas, factual information the entire family wants you to know.”
While Gram did have that incident when she almost put out old Doc Ashburn’s eye during a rectal exam the one time after we ate at a sushi place, I’ve fed her edamame several times since without any gassy complaints.
Our boy Tommy was assigned to, “You be a watchin’ Mooner out there to tha grill, Mr. T, and you learn a thing er six. Mooner mad cooks piggy meat. Goat an’ chicken too.”
Tommy stayed with me long enough to drink half a beer and for me to get the grill hot before he headed back inside. “Need a beer coozie, Mr. Johnson, be right back.”
The Squirt giggled as she watched Tommy’s back disappear through the back door. “He must have been a virgin when Gram snared him, bwana Mooner. He’s got nothing else on his mind.”
“Yes ma’am, little lady. Boy better start pacing himself or Gram’s gonna kill him. Which reminds me. Do you know where the bottle of Nu Skin is? I haven’t seen it since I was changing the light bulb in the dining room and cut that chunk of flesh off my arm. Fucking curio cabinet. Tommy’s liable to need some flesh repairs, if you know what I mean. Rub a cucumber against a leather saddle long enough, cucumber’s likely to lose considerable skin.”
We both laughed, and headed inside to prepare the vegetables for dinner.
OK, having written this much of today’s nonsense, I’m struck by the sense that I have located yet another reason I make up words. I now realize that, in addition to the many reasons I have enumerated before, I’m long trained by my grandmother to use literary license when congregating my verbages. Conjugating adverbs as well. Take, for example, her word “cookerator”. Please carefully evaluate that word in the context provided by me, herein and above, and tell me she didn’t nail it. Or as she might be prone to say, “I nailerated it, shithead.”
Did I ever tell you about the time Gram, Mother and I visited Mother’s family back to Virginia right after Daddy died? My father died but a couple years after his own and a year before Mother’s mother was murdered. It was a few tough losses for us and we took Mother back East to see what family she had left not named Johnson. It was while on that trip that Gram had her coming-out moment. Mother was visiting an old buddy and left Gram and I to fend for ourselves. We were discussing what to do when my Gram opened my eyes to her state of mind.
“I been a right good wife ta yer granddaddy, Mooner—never did have any poontanger with another man. Married at almost fourteen, we was, an’ I never did even looksee at another man,” giggle, slap of hands to thighs, more giggling,”’ceptin’ fer tha one time when Willie danced with me over to tha Broken Spoke back to ’72,” giggle, pause, angelic smile. “I’d a put Willie right on down to tha floor an’ made yer granddaddy watch, Mooner. Willie Nelson is one sexy cowboy!”
Gram then told me that she had fifty years to make up, and I needed to get her laid. As Maryland blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay are one of my food weaknesses, I took her to this crab place on the bay near the Virginia/Maryland border. “Henry’s” was its name and they served steamed crabs with bay seasoning, cold beer and fresh corn, and they had a country hoe down every Saturday night.
And why, inthefuck, is a country dance called a hoe down. My best thoughts would be that the working folk put down their hoes to have a good time, but really?
Big place, Henry’s, and filled to the rafters with diners and dancers. We ate a dozen crabs and many ears of corn and swilled beers for an hour or so. The beers, Old Dominion of brand and icy cold served, filled our hands—me watching for a suitable lady, and my Gram looking at each man like she was searching for lice in my hair back to elementary school.
“What’s wrong, Gram?” I asked her. “There’s fifty men hanging out with no dates. One of them has got to fit your scheme of things.”
“Too fuckin’ old, sonny boy. Got fifty year’s a sextin’ all stored up. I don’t wanna kill my first un, now do I?”
She finally settled on a young man of maybe nineteen who was there with his parents and a pretty girl I assumed was his date. That was the last actual fistfight I was in, except for that one time at the lesbian meeting for Sister and Anna the Amazon, and the only time served by me in a Virginia jail. Nice people, Virginia cops.
Gram failed to land the young Virginia lover boy that night, but she did learn a valuable lesson. “Need ta git me a man hookie, Mooner. Sumthin’ ta cerebriate mysef from them young girls.”
After cogitating how to cerebrally differentiate herself in a young man’s mind, she settled on a bright red Ferrari, and Gram has hooked young boys with that car better than stink bait snags catfish on a treble hook. Evidence young Tom, still a fixture in the spare bedroom here to La Casita Johnson de Santa Fe.
Anyway, I went inside to replenish my cooler with beer while the dogs and I did the only cooking getting done, and Gram’s pinto beans were boiling over on the stove. Hell’ova mess, let me tell you, and an absolute bitch to clean. Fire-baked-on bean juice is like brown enamel on a stove top. Took so long to clean it up, I worried that Gram and Tommy were dead in the guest room, and I burned the pig meat outside.
“Looks like we’re headed to Dr. Field Goods,” Squirt said with excited tail waggings. “Remember that the goat dog likes the spicy Italian sausage, and I want a simple Margarita, pizza” she informed me. “Oh, oh, oh, and get me some chicken liver pate, if you please, sir.”
The pizzas were great and the pate good enough to eat off of Michelle Bachmann’s Lilly white epidermis while listening to her make a stump speech.