Monday, September 24, 2007

Granny Mighty Hunter would be relieved

The Mighty Hunter's grandmother lived past her 93rd birthday. She was of the generation that lived through the Great Depression and, from it, developed the ability to feed her family of 5 with 2 potatoes, a tomato and an egg from her hen. I don't know if she finished school, but she was an avid reader of her Bible.

She was a tiny, frail, little woman but full of love and fierce loyalty and jealousy for her family. She was one of those little women who peeked at the road through the gap between the steering wheel and dash on her 1980's model Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with its vinyl seats.

I will not say that she easy to get along with. She wasn't. At least it became difficult for me to enjoy being with her. At first, when The Mighty Hunter and I married, it was fine. The first time I met her, she said, "you call me Grandmother, just like the rest of my babies. Come here and give Grammuver a kiss! Now, don't you want me to cook something for you? How about I make some pintos and cornbread?" As a wife to her grandson, she treated me great. I was a good wife.

But when Stinkerbell was born, her perception of me changed. The very same person who had been a good wife was not good enough for her great-granddaughter. When I went back to work after 2 months of leave, she told me that if it were her baby, she'd wash someone's clothes to be able to stay home and not let someone else raise her.

Never mind that only the dry cleaner gets paid for washing clothes now.

Needless to say that my opinion of her changed too when I became a mother. Like many first-time mothers, I lacked confidence in my new role, and she completely failed to support me and encourage me.

It may seem strange that I looked to her for so much support. But in many ways, she was my mother-in-law. The Mighty Hunter's mother had died from leukemia within weeks of my getting pregnant. We also lived across the road from Granny, so it was very easy and convenient for her to be a big part of our life then.

Daily, I had to remind myself that she came from a different era. That she had lost a baby sister, whom she loved dearly. That she had lost her first baby and suffered an emotional breakdown from the heartbreak of it. That she had experienced times that I've only read about. That she had seen the world around her transform in ways and at a pace that will never be repeated.

She grew up without indoor plumbing or electricity or telephones. She grew up riding horses or wagons or walking everywhere. She lost loved ones to World War II. She listened to FDR and Truman on the radio. She fed her family with the food she grew and the animals she loved and then killed. Yet, she couldn't stand for the mice that would visit her attic and closets to be killed. Her gardens would easily feed her family and two other families. She made sauces and juices and soups to store away in her cellar. She would joke about cracking the lids on the grape juice jars so they would ferment.

She saved and re-used sheets of aluminum foil for months.

She watched the only 3 channels her aerial antennae could receive for years until cable was installed on her country road. Then she and Grand-daddy Hunter stayed up and watched HBO's adult movies all night "just to see what they would do next."

She told stories of "panthers" and bears killing her animals. Of how when her parents first moved here, they found a little abandoned cabin and moved into it. The women and children stayed in the cabin while the men took the oxen and wagons back to wherever they had left to get the rest of their furniture or whatever they had not been able to bring with them. She smiled the sweetest smile when she told about during the nights while the men were gone, they would lie there terrified, listening to footsteps outside the cabin, whispers and bustling around. Then in the morning, they would awaken to find fresh vegetables and meat in hand-made baskets left on the cabin steps. And at the edge of the trees, one Native American woman was watching to make sure they found the food.

She also told about how much she loved that baby sister. How that little girl was the smartest of all her brothers and sisters. How much it hurt her to lose her to a fever. And how when her first-born died also of a fever that she nearly lost her mind and couldn't stand to see or hear or touch a baby for months afterward.

When Stinkerbell was born, she worried and fussed. She held and kissed her. She loved her and spoiled her. She wanted to keep her for me while I worked but was just too feeble and forgetful. She shared with me the remedies she had used on her children to get rid of coughs and colds and sniffless and tummy aches. I learned that many of those really work.

She told me that she was afraid that she loved Stinkerbell too much.

"too much?"

yes, too much.

"how can you love a baby too much?"

I loved my baby sister so much and I think that's why she died.

"she died because you loved her too much?"

it seemed that way. And I'm afraid that I love Stinkerbell too much and she'll die too.

"ok, Granny."

Then there was the time that I told her about how Stinkerbell rolled off the bed in the middle of the night. How when The Mighty Hunter woke up and said "did she bounce?" and fell back to sleep. To all of this she said...

well, that's good. she should live now.


if a baby falls off the bed before their first birthday, they'll live a long time.


And as of yesterday morning, when The Mighty Hunter was supposed to be watching Lucky as he crawled around on our bed, Lucky has made his obligatory fall-off-the-bed-before-his-birthday-to-presersve-his-life.

I hear thump, screeeeeammmm!!!

I run from the bathroom into the bedroom to see Lucky lying on the floor, screaming, arms and legs flailing and kicking, mad and scared and hurt. I also see The Mighty Hunter, still lying on the bed, looking very guilty and scared and sorry.

I guess he crawled over the top of the pillow.

"yeah? Did you think he couldn't? Did you think it was his Mt Everest? Cuz if you did, then we clearly need to buy him some ropes and climbing gear and probably some oxygen tanks!"

Then in the middle of the night, Lucky (who sleeps with us so that I can nurse him in the middle of the night without waking me up too much) crawled around my own extra pillow and fell off the bed again.


At least I can plead the "I was asleep" excuse!

What stories do y'all have about the first time your babies fell of the bed?


Melzie said...

When my oldest (first! baby! ever!) fell out of my bed onto the HARD CONCRETE floor I scooped him up and RAN 3 blocks to my grandma's house with him. I never even considered driving LOL. He was fine. I was not so fine ROFL. btw..welcome back to blogging I've missed you! xoxo melzie

Anonymous said...

Ok, the Wog hasn't fallen off of the bed yet. He really wants to, though. Seriously he likes to take off crawling or walking to the edge and he tries to race me. I've caught him so far, though I've come close to several head injuries, myself.

He's now decided that he likes falling backwards. It started on our bed, which caused more than a few close calls. Now, though, he'll just do it in the middle of the floor. On our hardwoods. Most of the time he smiles and throws his head back first, so there is a little warning. Unless you're, say, folding laundry or watching Guiding Light. Then you just hear the thud... Ugh, it makes me crazy!

Thus ends my mini post in the form of a comment! Making up for lost time! :-)

Melizzard said...

No babies falling off the bed here but my oldest did fall off my desk once. Bad timing that she discovered that bouncers actually bounce while perched atop the return.

I loved loved loved the granny stories though. I grew up with a granny and a great-granny just like that. What incredible women they were. Thanks for making me think of them today.


Super B's Mom said... seriously have me crying on this one. That was beautifully written about your Granny.

Sounds like Granny was a pistol. I wish I'd taken more time to listen to mine growing up. for babies falling off the bed - Super B was three days old. YES. THREE DAYS OLD. Our 1st day home from the hospital - both of us in an exhausted fog. We were all napping - Super B on Super Dad's chest. I shoot up out of the bed when I hear a loud thump. Super Dad had leaned over, rolling Super B off the bed. And to make matters worse, he hit the plastic garbage can on the way down.

Scared the BAJEEBIES out of us. I ran over to find Super B just lying there like "what's up?" - just checking things out. I snatched him up and in my post-partum hormonal rage I declared that Super Dad would never hold him - ever again!! haha Luckily, we all survived.