Over the weekend, the slog through the mountain of work was interrupted by a quick visit from my mom’s parents and my uncle, their chauffer for the day.
It was quick, maybe 30 minutes tops. They had to get on the road, see. Long drive. I met them at the back door, out the carport, in my sock feet, as I usually do when visitors are milling in the driveway wondering what door to approach first.
My grandmother asks lots of questions – what’s the dirt for, why do the neighbors have a pile of pumpkins on their front lawn, what are those satellite dishes for, do we get free cable, what happened to this flower garden anyway. I explain a few things as best I can, explain the new septic field that’s going in and why. Behind us neighbors complained even though it’s not our fault the lawn is wet.
My uncle Todd – large, rough & burly, day-old whiskers on his chin – looked around back. “Well no wonder the *** lawn is ***** wet, the ****** lake is higher, *****!”
Yep, that’s Todd. He hugged me too, which was surprising until I realized he was whispering “HELP ME!” in my ear.
Anyway, after a few more storytelling bits about the septic and my grandmother tsk tsking, shaking her head and declaring it an awful shame, we went in.
I did get her toured around the house without too much incident, Emma helping. It reminded her of other houses in other times.
“My, my, look at these railings. Why I haven’t seen these since…”
“Well, would ya look at that..”
“My God, what a shame they let some of this happen.”
“Can you imagine? Just imagine how nice this house was”
“Oh my land, I had wallpaper like this back in..”
Ron had kept Papa busy while I shuffled Nanny carefully up and down the stairs. “Back stairs, too? Oh my land..”
And “My goodness, this will be a lot of work. Just think, you finished that other house – it was so nice – and then had to move, what a shame.”
Papa soon declared “Well Mert – time to go,” and off he went, slower now. They’re both very grey. I was struck by how much they’ve aged, how much slower they move.
Back to the car and goodbyes. My grandmother looked over the backyard one more time.
“Them’s a buncha assholes.”
Yep, they still got it.