Monday, November 26, 2007

Grandma Strange & the drunk Uncle

Oh, Thank you Lord, I don't know what the wolf mother did, but the male wolf gave permission for me to ride the bus & stay with Grandma Strange for the week end. Some times if he couldn't come up with a believable excuse he would say I could go, but the other three kids had to go too. It wasn't fair of Grandma to take just one child. Funny thing was, they didn't want to go & she didn't want them either. My siblings were not close to the family. I was the only outgoing one. They were like the wolf parents & were happy to stay in the den.

We arrived at Grandma's house about 6:00 p.m. I ran up the back stairs with my bag in hand to put everything in one of bedrooms upstairs. You never knew who would be spending the night so you had to mark your territory or you would end up sleeping on the floor.

My wolf mother & Grandma were sitting at the kitchen table talking when I came downstairs. I could tell something was wrong, so I sat down & looked from one to the other. It was nothing new, my Uncle Henry had "fell off the wagon" again & hadn't been home in two days. He dropped his wife & three kids off & left. I was only about five & I wasn't worried.

Grandma would allow me to sleep in her room if there was a full house. I always felt safe falling asleep listening to her Big Ben alarm clock ticking. It had big green hands that glowed in the dark. She always let me sleep on the inside wall. With her on the outside of the bed, she could protect me.
Her & I went to her room because I loved sitting at her dressing table & playing with jewelry, make up & hats. I can still smell her Lily of The Valley perfume. The bottle was always small & the most beautiful color of blue/purple. She laid her hankies so neatly in a drawer. They were all white with embroidery on them. I played until the others arrived & we went out to play.

The house was settling down for the night & all a sudden we woke to a crash & screaming downstairs. Then we realized the uncle's drinking binge had ended & he was trying to find his way home. I was scared because I could hear Grandma's voice & my aunt was yelling. The other cousins and I sneaked down the back stairway because we couldn't be seen from there. The kitchen lights were off so we could sneak in the dark in order to see better.
The adults were in between the dining room & the living room. Grandma & aunt Mary were trying to get uncle Henry off to bed & he wanted something to eat. Fool that he was, he would eat & drink more, then get sick. This story played out every single time he drank. What a life.

The next thing I knew uncle Henry pushed Grandma in to the piano. Grandma was a big lady but that piano didn't budge. I knew she was hurt. His silly wife just stands there & looks at him. I was livid. I grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on, which was a knitting needle. I ran toward him & jabbed him in the leg. I gave it all the strength I had and got his upper leg in the back, just below his butt. He jumped & screamed like he's been shot.........I held that needle up like a weapon & demanded he go to bed. By then everyone is crying & Grandma was coming over to me with her arms held out to me. Henry went to the bathroom to check out his injury.

I remembered Grandma telling me that some times you had to bite your tongue & turn the other cheek in life. Don't carry a grudge or stay mad at someone. Forgive & forget. I went to the kitchen & got out a bowl of food. I mixed it up and added some salt. Uncle Henry was a big salt freak. I think he put salt on cereal. I know he put it in his beer. I thought it was fun watching the foam raise to the top of the glass to overflow & the minute he put salt in it, it stopped.

He came on unsteady legs out of the bathroom. I helped him get seated at the table, complete with napkin & silver ware. I told him I wanted him to eat so he wouldn't be sick in the morning. It was Saturday & he could help Grandma with some chores. At that point that man thought I was a princess of the best kind. He said dinner was delicious & he was going to bed. He cleaned up the entire bowl of food. Then he leaned over me & gave me a stinky, sloppy, yucky kiss on my cheek & thanked me. I kept pushing him toward their bedroom. My aunt grabbed his arm, dragged him in the bedroom & locked the door. What an idiot. The two of them are idiots.

I turned around & see Grandma sitting in her big over sized rocker. She is rocking & the only light in the room is the night light on top of the piano. But I can still see her smile. I went over & climbed on her lap. After about five rocks in the chair, she said, "Grace Marie, you did something tonight that you should not have done. You put yourself in danger when you grabbed that knitting needle & stabbed your uncle." Then she got very quiet & I knew she was going to cry. She didn't cry. She started so laughing so hard I was falling off her lap. In between the tears of laughter, she kept saying I would never be allowed to stay there again if the wolf parents found out about it. She knew I never told them anything.
With any luck uncle Henry will never remember it & his wife never opened her mouth about anything. She was too afraid of him.

Grandma suggested we go off to bed. While I was brushing my teeth & getting on a night shirt for bed, she told me how nice it was that I jumped in & fed Henry. It meant a lot to her to see I can turn the other cheek & not stay upset. I looked at her & quietly asked, "who forgot to feed Spot tonight? I didn't want that dog food & table scraps going to waste". I can still hear Grandma Strange laughing.

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