July 13, 2008
I love my family
Originally published May 29, 2004
I went to see my mama and my grandmother today. My Uncle Virgil was there, too, and we had a nice, long conversation about a lot things other people wouldn't understand. We laughed a lot, but my family is famous for witty repartee and a good sense of humor.
My grandmother just turned 93 years old. She's tiny and frail now, but she was a pisscutter in her younger days. Virgil told about how, when my grandfather administered haircuts to him and his two brothers, Mommie (that's my grandmother) always made sure that all three had enough hair left on their heads so that she could grab a handful and snatch them around when they fucked up. She would check the length of the cut, nod approvingly and say, "That's a good haircut. I can grab that."
Mommie was fixing supper one afternoon and wanted to make some cornbread, but she was out of buttermilk. She gave my Uncle George some money and told him to go to the store and buy a quart. George became distracted by some game he was playing and didn't scoot off quickly enough to suit Mommie. "I thought I told you to go to the store and buy a quart of buttermilk," she said to George, who was still playing in the yard and oblivious to his responsibility.
"I'm going in just a minute," he replied, which was the wrong thing to say to Mommie. She grabbed a switch and laid a nice lick on one of his bare shoulders. "You'll go RIGHT NOW!" she said, drawing back for another swipe. George went, kicking up a cloud of Kentucky dust behind him.
When George came home with the buttermilk, he had a nice, red welt on his arm from the switch-mark. "Look, Mommie," he said, pointing to the V-shaped stripe on his arm. "You made me a private."
"Yes, I did," Mommie replied. "And if you ever ignore me like that again, I'll promote you to sergeant."
She meant it, too.
I have hundreds of such stories to tell. I've heard a lot of them more than once, but I never get tired of hearing them again. I come from a long line of good storytellers. A meeting of my relatives is a lot like a blog-meet. If you want to get a word in edgewise, you'd better talk first and talk loud.
My family is quiet and shy, just like me.
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