OK. I had planned to take today off from bloggerating, but my Gram’s sharp wit burst that balloon. We were to the dinner table last night, each talking about our plans for today, Labor Day. SAC Ellen and I are going to take sitz baths together; Streaker Jones and Dixie are headed to New Mexico to look at the drafts for the spring 2011 clothing lines for If You Can’t Smoke It, Wear It; Sister and Anna the Amazon are working over to the Gay and Lesbian film festival and they have some meetings for that; Gnat is going boating with her new beau; and Mother is going to be Mother, and find something to martyr about.
If a gambler gets busted, why isn’t a balloon bursted?
During the conversations over our Labor Day plans, Gram suspiciously avoided the subject. Each time we looked at her, she would avoid our eyes and put more food on her plate. Last night’s dinner was roasted chicken and fresh garden veggies- all grilled on my big outdoor kitchen, Mother’s homemade ciabatta bread, and a big bowl of frijoles rancheros. The Mexican cowboy-style beans were Gnat’s date’s contribution.
He’d brought enough of the tasty, spicy beans to feed two Johnson Family dinners, and by the end of the meal, they were all that was left. After maybe the eighth averted-eye serving Gram had dished to her platter, she blurted out, “Awright, fer shitsakes, I’ll tell ya what I plan ta be doin’. Otherways, I’ll blow tha house down from eatin’ all them beanies.”
“An don’t be getting yer feelers all rankleated on me, young man. Them’s tha best free-holies I had since that time me an tha late Mister Johnson was down to Venice Whaler.”
She jacked her shot of Hornitos tequila and slugged a long drag of Carta Blanca before continuing. Gram always drinks Hornitos shots with grilled chicken. Always has.
“All a this Labor Day bullshit is gittin my girlie parts ta thobbin. Mother was a beached baby an it took me four days ta git her pushed out.” She poured another shot, knocked it back and chased it with Carta Blanca.
“All us Johnsons got big heads. I ain’t walked right since.” Another shot, beer chaser and a ninth scoop of frijoles rancheros.
Now Mother can stop looking for a martyred cause, and she starts this series of deep, emotional sighs that mark the beginning of a crusade. She gets this look of emotional long suffering where her face elongates, her nose pinches along with her mouth, and her eyes resemble what I imagine a Russian woman’s eyes to be in a Tolstoy novel.
She looks like an aging blood hound who has lost his sense of smell. “How many more times will you torture me with this story, Gram? Isn’t you ruining my Mothers’ Day enough payback?”
Now Mother gets into full swing. “You’ve never forgiven me for being born, Gram. Maybe we’d all be better off if I hadn’t.”
Now me, I’m thinking neither Sister nor I would be better off without our mother’s birth. Anna is starting to feel the same way as she would lose both a husband, and a wife, if our mother was not to have been born.
Anna says, “Oh Mother, you know we are all glad you were born. Me, I would be especially sad.”
Of course Mother avoids this reassuring compliment and uses it to drive additional nails through flesh and into cross, a hallmark of any Mother martyr event.
“I don’t know why Gram hates me so bad for weighing 7 pounds when I was born. How could that be so bad?”
Now wait….. wait…….. wait. Here comes the payoff pitch.
“How can she have had it so bad with me, when Mooner was a ten pounds and came out butt first? I had the worst birth in medical history and my own mother has no sympathy.” With this, my mother gets up from the table and goes to the kitchen with her dirty dishes.
“Oh quit yer bitchin, Mother, an git me another beer while yer up.” Quick shot, short drag to empty the beer bottle, and then, “Asides. Who gives a shit iffn Mooner came out ass first? That’s what started him on his butt movies. First thing tha little shit done was flash that cute tushie at us.”
Now SAC Ellen enters the fray. “I always wondered when the seed was sowed that grew into the Mooner I love. You can take all the credit, Mother Johnson. You made him what he is today.”
Deep sigh, deeper sigh and the clink of a beer cap opened and hitting the granite counter top. “I don’t harbor any satisfaction in how Mooner turned out, Officer McClellan. My son is going to spend all eternity burning in hell because of what he says about the Baptist Church. And it’s all my fault.”
She walks back to the table, places Gram’s new beer on the coaster and says, “You’d think a boy that was Baptized twice would have turned out better.”
Then the conversation switched to a debate on the merits of Mooner. But I’m OK with all of that because my family can’t hurt my feelings anymore. I know they love me, and I love them. But I am digressing from what this posting is about.
Labor Day is a unique celebration. Every human on the planet can justify their inclusion in a day that glorifies work. Work is good and workers are great!
Let’s all celebrate with a day off, a pat on our backs, and a cold Carta Blanca beer.