Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Tale of Two Grandmas

I am a confirmed atheist. I believe all creatures on Earth come from the same beginnings. We are all just animals that are born, live, and die. But, I just can't stop watching Sylvia Browne on Montel Williams every Wednesday morning. And, I have always known that I see and feel things other people don't.

I remember at like 6 years old, going to K-Mart in Clarksville, Indiana with my Grandma Neff (Great-Grandmother). One day we we
re walking out of the store, and I told her, "That cart is going to hit that car".

The cart was completely still, and I think she mostly ignored me. When we got closer to my Grandma's 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88, the cart began to roll on it's own. Seconds later it slammed into said car.
We got in the car, she turned to me and asked, "How did you know that?" I never forgot that moment.
I was her favorite. At Christmas, I would have to open presents before the other Grandkids got there, and keep quiet about what I got. In 1979, it was a portable black & white TV with a radio. This was quite the deal back then. It was huge and bulky, but state of the art then.

I remember when she died, December 5, 1980. I knew she was dead long before my mother came into my room to tell me. I probably knew the exact minute she passed. I don't remember much else about that time in my life, but that date and time are etched in my memory.

Everyone in my family is basically dead. They die young and they die old. But, my Grandma Jones is the latest one to "Sylvia Browne" me.

That is her with my cousin Pam, who died shortly after my Grandma. She was the cool cousin that "understood me".
Anyway, I was never as close to Grandma Jones as Grandma Neff, and I always felt a bit of resentment in that from Grandma Jones. I was always a bit scared of her. She taught preschool at Morton Memorial United Methodist Church, where I attended, and I can only remember two things about my time there: I could never have the chocolate cake for dessert (they thought I was allergic to chocolate, which was false), and her giving me half an aspirin one time from a locket around her neck. I must have had a fever or someth
ing. She took me to the water fountain, and told me, "I can give this to you, but not the others, because we are family," or something like that. I couldn't swallow it, and it tasted like shit. I have always had a hard time swallowing pills.

Later, we would become very close after my parents divorced in 1981, and my dad lived with them. About the same time she began to lose her vision. By the time I was spending time with her on a regular basis, she was legally blind. But, this didn't stop me from taking her to Greyhound Supermarket every Saturday morning and guiding the cart up and down every aisle, while she held tight to the handlebar. I would tell her about all the sales, and anything new or interesting in the store. All the while, the employees would say, "Hi Mrs. Jones". She knew them all my name upon recognizing their voice. I would do the same thing at the new Target store in town too. I would put a blanket or rug in her hand, and describe the colors or pattern to her, and she knew. She could still see color in her mind.
I would read The Evening News to her. We would sit on the front porch together, and talk to the neighbors passing by. We grew a bond that would never be changed as I entered adulthood and spent less time with her.
When she was dying, I visited her often in the hospital. The day she died I was there alone with her, hours before she passed. She seemed really lucid, calling me by name, and talking about some crazy shit she needed to do around the house. It made me laugh. Later, my dad called me, and said she had died.
Since her death, she has been with me in every way, every day. I dream about her driving while she is still blind. I have moments where I think I am going to drive across the bridge to her house and sit in the glider on the front porch with her. And, even as I was writing this the night light in my bedroom, the only one visible from my point of view, blinked at me. It does this every so often. And, I think of her, or think that someone is watching over me.
I hope the bulb never burns out, for fear that it will never blink again.

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