Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Trouble Was Meals

Elizabeth Bennett

Dad was the head of the family, for sure.
When he got us all together
it meant either a baby was on the way
or we were moving.  So when the question was put,
How would it be if Grandma came to live with us?
I thought, no big deal.
I was glad we weren't moving.

I found a picture of Grandma,
a young dancer in a dress, sequins and feathers.
She had me tape it onto the mirror
over the dresser where she kept Grandpa's remains,
his gold cuff links, glass eye.

It was all right.
Grandma the dancer in residence,
all right for me, hard for Mother.
Dad would come home, pour a glass of Old Crow Bourbon, one for Mother, drink them both.

The trouble was meals.
Dad was used to holding forth
and the first night, halfway through Chicken Cacciatore
Grandma turned and said, "Rest your gums, dear."
She called everyone dear, all of us, the mailman,
even the exterminator.
She took to humming in a loud voice
and dropping her knife and fork on the floor.

One night she shouted, "Leftovers, leftovers, 
where's the original?" and shoved her plate
on the floor.  Baby threw his bottle
on top of the broken china.  The plate crash
became a regular occurrence.

Fridays at school our teacher read us poetry,
"Poitry," she called it.  One went,
"Old age is a flight of small cheeping birds..."
I didn't like poetry.  What I liked was shop.
I made a wooden bowl, sanded the rim smooth,
carved my initials on the bottom.
I brought it home to Grandma
and we served her dinner in it every night.
She still shoved it on the floor
but nothing broke.

When I was a the orthodontist's one afternoon,
Grandma took a nap and never woke up.
We cleaned out her room.  I helped Mother.
She was in a mood to throw everything out,
flannel sheets that smelled of urine, everything.
She only kept the picture.  That night after dinner
I found the bowl in the trash.
Dad said, we won't need THAT anymore,
but I washed and dried it
and put in on the shelf next to Old Crow
so I could find it when Mother got old.

   *This has nothing at ALL to do with Valentines day..I just like this poem*

But nonetheless,


PS.  Read here about Mollie Jo's happenings over in Kentucky.

No comments:

Post a Comment