My Great Grandmother and Her Unwanted Zoo.

I have a wonderful great grandmother who I saw every single day when I was living next to her, I visited her before and after school, if she needed work I was there. I was absolutely adored by her stories. Her house and mine were back to back I climbed over one fence to get to my great grandmothers house. I absolutely miss this part of my life, because of how dear she was to me. Every time I saw her she was always trying to give me jewelry cause we wore the same ring sizes and often I would refuse.  She had made quilts, and it was so sad, you know if she was asking for spinach that some one had passed on. I remember when she had lost three friends in the same year and she was so upset about the spinach. Spinach casserole is what she made for the church after parties.

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The Spinach Casserole – Church sign of Someone just Died.

Since my mothers death I have never been a person for church after parties. In fact, if I can avoid the whole funeral I will. It’s easier for me. But my great grandmother was made on tradition. She was an amazing woman. But she was in the later years in life, she would still get out every once in a while and garden with me. It did not happen as often as I liked it and she only came out for a moment but we took care of her home really well. Problems with the steps were often fixed by me at least temporary. The woman had so many stories that I will share with you in something more dedicated to her.

However if you can picture the great grandmother with her wrinkles and her smile behind large glasses, busty and a bad back to go with it, that was her, kind and sweet as pie. My dad was getting closer and closer to one of his break downs. I think I was about 14 years old when this happen so I’m not exactly sure on the date. But he had a studio he worked for years called Back To Nature – Taxidermy studio (Yeah did not mention he was a hunter and a taxidermist yet.) He came to visit us on Halloween season and it was the day after that I got a call from my Great Grandmother, and she demanded I come over right away.

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He did what?! Don’t worry G’G’ I ‘m on my way!

I am not sure what went on in the mind of my dad at this point in time, she woke up from her nap and her house had been turned in to a zoo. My Great Grandmother I have only seen upset twice, in her whole life and this was one of the time. There was a certain distinction in her voice when she got upset, it was like the world had paused as the wrinkles became a bit more defined and her eyes would widen behind the magnifying glasses. She had a shaking in her voice that one could only sustain. There is a stillness in every move she made as if  she was marble. This woman was holding back all her anger. I knew if at that moment my dad were to get in to her house, there was a chance grandma would be as little Christian as possible.

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The Christian F-U.

This is the moment where you stand back and look at my father and think to yourself ” What in the world are you doing?”  I arrive there and it was like a the Noah’s Ark of Missouri had crapped in her house. There was squirrels in her kitchen, about 3 of them, there was pigeons… in her home, she had an extra stray cat that was trying to claw the couch, there was pine cones from her cuckoo clock replaced with real ones so it threw the pendulums off.  So, I get in there and there is this cat up in the corner and its just hissing back at me. Apparently my dad went out and lured animals into her home, he could of been offering them drugs cause they were all insane. Instead one of the squirrels rushed off with this insane chatter, I had to chase out from under three beds, I finally caught him on the curtain which I had to pull down. Which I can understand why he was so pissed, he was probably relaxing in his little squirrel nest before crazy man in the fu manchu mustache squirrel-naps him to an old house of doilies and figurines.

I had him wrapped up in a blanket that I had to take outside. Even when I did the little fur ball was clenching on to the blanket for dear life. “No I don’t want to leave, that is the best place…. EVER… it smells like cookies…I promise not to eat the furniture!” It was one of the most difficult things to do you would think being higher up on the food change would make things better. But not this tiny terror, caught in the blanket, it shook like it was captured by the mental institution. It was throwing a fit and the only thing that I can compare it too is the actions that were done in The Great Out Doors. A family freaking out on an adventure while the great John Candy tries to direct on how things should go. It was an epic journey of failure. I rushed the beast with in the sheets out the door with the happiness that I thought it was over. Granted this last bit of the experience probably only lasted about thirty seconds but I am sure it felt more like 5 hours. I opened the blanket and began to shake it off but it rushed with a vengeance trying to climb back up the blanket to me.

An all out fight was waged as I shook the blanket with two hands trying to get rid of this thing. The squirrel jerked further and further down the blanket to the end and something in my mind had told me this was a bad idea I should stop … now. But the yelling of my great grandmother at the other animals in the house made me continue the  jerking of the blanket. The poor squirrel it held on with one paw, and then the other paw before it was launched in to the air. I saw the thing gain about twenty feet in the air as it shot in to the sky and then would start its descent in to the tree. It landed there of the branch and it STILL did not run. It stayed there on the tree staring and chattering away like a pissed off Speedy Gonzales.  I was expecting it to turn in to Taz from Looney Toons and just wreck the house after that.

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Throw me in the air, I’ll be back after dark!

My grandmother gave another yell and we opened the doors for the flood gates of animals to come pouring out. Her birds in her cages were squeaking and cawing at every move we made. “No these are our company! what Do you think you are doing! You better put down my Niece RIGHT NOW!” It was total and utter chaos. My great grandmother had a cat pillow and there was the ragged feline on the couch who was perhaps the easiest of them all. My hand went back and I took off my shoe, with a near expert throw, mind you I spent most of my child hood out throwing the men in Saint Ann and Saint John during town fairs, the shoe went at the cat flying like a baseball and hit right next to the rear end.

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Get out of here! She be Crazy!

The cat took out the door which calmed most of her pet’s down. Grandma was yelling about something else, and it was the one thing I could not stand, an opossum. I hate them, almost as much as I hate roosters the bad part is was the damn thing was backed in to a corner and normally they want to play dead and not move. This time this one was on the same crack as the others. It turned and hissed at me and immediately called me out. The Opossum had claimed my grandfathers room as his own and was going to take it too his last breath. I was stuck with grandmothers arsenal.

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So they asked me what I was afraid of, and I said “Not a Damn Thing.”

Which would of been so cool if she had one, instead I was armed with metal dustpans, brooms and mops at the ready, I could of gone further and added bucket on my head and an apron covering my chest for this battle. I had laid under his hospital bed while I played a bad game of shuffle board and literally had to sweep-scoot- this thing to the street corner. It was a continual game of yelling and hissing back and forth between me and this oversize mutant rat.  It would turn back at me and make faces that just drew my own personal hatred of this animal even further. It was not JUST getting the animals out of the house, I had to get them off the property, my grandmother had tons of old vines and giant sweat peas that would of taken over her house if not cared for. There was tons of places for them to stay and hide. So you could see me running down banging the dustpan and the broom as I rushed to defend my grandmothers house till my last breath!

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My houssssssssssssssse!

I’m not sure what is it about me and birds but we never seem to get along, I have an issue, it might date back to the parrot that often stopped my heart and damn near made me piss myself any time I was at my Uncles Davids. (Who just happens to be one of the most talented men I have ever had the privilege of knowing.) I swear the thing would just stay there and I would walk around the corner and it would make this screech that would scare the hell out of me. Between that and roosters you would think I would be okay with some kind of bird at some point. So just from the fear factor of parrots I had to deal with another scare factor.

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What you got a problem with me?

If you want to picture me jumping and waving a shirt at this bird you can but it went in a little deeper then just that. The bird flew us from room to room.  I just had to deal with this same situation when my daughters had let in a bird by their window and it was stuck in the house for about an hour or two of trying to get it to understand the windows are not door. This adventure was coming to a close for me and my grandmother. We had successfully cleared out the house, grandmother I went to wash the blankets and re-hang the curtains and re-arrange all the furniture, we ended up finding a frog in the bath tub so that was easily let outside and was a bit easier to lure. I knew the expression my grandmother was going to make I was starting to apologize for my dad but she was the one who taught me not to. I had always wanted to be there to see this discussion take place between my dad and my great grandmother. But I think it was one of those things that was just left. However when ever I came to visit she would bring up the stories to my kids, and normally she said it with a smile but every once in a while you could see that look in here eyes.

ImageShhh! I’m not done complaining yet, you just hold on a moment.

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