On Christmas Day I called my favorite spunky red head. I knew calling my grandmother meant that I would be on the phone for at least an hour, that I would quite possibly hear the same stories more than once, and that I wouldn’t get a word in edge wise, but I was looking forward to it. Momsie answered on the second ring. “Hi there! How’s my favorite red head?” “Well I’m just fine! How are you doing? It’s so good to hear from you!” “Ummm…I’ve gotta ask. Do you know who you are talking to?” “No, but you just said I’m your favorite, so I must like you.” “Momsie, it’s me, Katie.” “Well hey there Baby! How’s it going? I have so much to tell you. Do you have a minute?”
Momsie then began telling me about her gardener. My grandparents have had the same landscapers for years, and even took a few Spanish classes to improve their interactions with the crew. After my grandfather died, Momsie began to look forward to the gardener’s visits even more than before. But apparently this time the little guy ticked Momsie off. “Katie, I’m tired of people telling me that I’m old. And my gardener said that ladies my age should take naps! How rude! I don’t LIKE naps. But I showed him. I told him that I pay him, and I can make him do anything I want him to. So I made him come inside, and vacuum under my bed. Don’t tell me to take a nap! I showed him my bedside drawer, and told him I had a gun in there, and I knew how to use it. I then handed him the vacuum and told him he was going to vacuum under my bed for telling me I needed a nap.” I could hear the mischievous grin playing on her lips as she spoke. I know my little red head could never hurt a fly, but I also knew I needed to caution her about what she could and couldn’t say. So I swallowed my giggles, took a deep breath, and decided to give the old girl a little advice. “Now Momsie, we need to talk a little bit about this. First, it’s not safe to be letting people in your house. You never know who might hurt you. And second, you can’t make that poor man vacuum under your bed! That’s not what he was hired to do, and you REALLY can’t threaten to shoot him if he doesn’t!” “Oh Katie! I didn’t threaten him. I just hinted as to what I could do if he didn’t vacuum!” “No more Momsie. Others might not be as patient with your suggestions!” But I can promise you I will never suggest a nap to my grandmother in the future!
We kept chatting and she told me about the new Bible study she was going to with my aunt, and how much she loved it. “But Katie? I don’t like old women. They just want to sit around and show pictures of their grandkids, knit blankets, and sip tea. That’s boring! When your grandfather was alive we went to the gun club and hung out with red blooded men. I liked that. They called me “Bill’s Redheaded Woman”. Why can’t I still hang out with men?” I honestly didn’t know what to say. I mean, I’m her grandchild, and clearly she doesn’t want to pass around pictures of me, and she wanted to hang out with boys like a school girl. Turns out I didn’t need to say anything at all. “You know what I want? I want a male escort.” “What?!?! Do you know what you are asking for Momsie?” “Oh, do they have sex with you? No, I don’t want that. No one could be as good as your Papa. But I would like a rich younger man to take me to nice dinners, and talk to me about things that are interesting. Is that not an escort?” “Ummm…no. That sounds more like a companion Momsie. And you having a friend to keep you company might be nice. But PLEASE don’t ever tell anyone you want a male escort EVER AGAIN! People will think you want the booty!” Never in a million years did I think I would be having these kinds of talks with my grandmother, but here we were, talking about male escorts….Sigh.
“Well since you won’t let me call them escorts, let me just tell you another story. And if I’ve already told you the story, just be quiet and listen to it again!” I can’t put into words how hard it was to keep my composure while we had our little chat. My grandmother was a riot. The older she gets, the less her filter works. “The other day I was weeding my rock garden. I like for my yard to look nice you know.” “Momsie, how old are you? Should you really be working in the garden?” “Gosh, I don’t know how old I am. I’ve lied about it so long that I’ve forgotten my real age.” Thatta girl. If you forget your age, you can stay as young as you want for as long as you want! We eventually worked out that she is 86 years young. “Well back to my story about my rock garden, Katie. You distracted me by reminding me that I’m old. Anyway….I was pulling a little weed, and my arm got stuck in the fence.” “Momsie, why did you put your arm through the fence?” “Would you hush and listen? That’s not the point. Just accept that it got stuck. So it got stuck, and I spotted this man working on the roof next door. I told him to come help me, but he wasn’t moving very fast. I told him if he didn’t get his butt over here right away, that as soon as I got free I was going to get my weapon and make him wish he had helped me! And you know what??? He came and helped me! Now that wasn’t so hard!” By now I don’t know whether to fuss at her for being so brazen or award her a gold star for being so sassy. But I know what my aunt would ask me to do. So I clear my throat and use my big girl voice. “Momsie, it may be Texas, and you may have been married to the toughest cowboy that ever was, but people are sensitive now. You MUST quit pretending you are going to shoot everybody if they don’t do what you tell them to! Someone may think you’re serious!” “Nah, if they think I’m a little spunky, they will behave! But if you want me to be good, then I will try a little harder. You’re just no fun!” Well we may have dodged a bullet there!
“Katie? I know you think I’m a little crazy, but I really miss your Papa. Susan takes good care of me, and I’m doing ok, but at night I miss him more than you can know. I creep to the front window, look out at the moon, and I swear I hear background music, and he talks to me.” Crap, this is a little weird and crazy, but I’m not about to tell that poor lady she is losing it. Or am I???? “Now Katie, I need you to do me a favor. I need you to go outside tonight. Stand in the middle of your driveway and look at the moon. Listen very carefully for Papa’s voice. If you try really hard, you will hear it. Then I want you to talk back to him.” Screech!!!!!! Halt!!!! Back up!!!! “ You want me to do what?!?! Oh Momsie, I love you to pieces, but I can’t talk to the moon! I just can’t.” “Ok…Well, it’s your loss. He would visit you if you let him. Now, let’s just move along. Will you and Nickie plan a trip to Dallas, and take me somewhere fun? Maybe we could go see a show?”
I talked to my sister, and we will indeed try and take the roudy redhead to see a show. Perhaps we can hire her an escort too. Who knows?! My Momsie is funny, fearless, and as full of life as she ever was. She may be a little too spunky for this cupcake generation that now runs the world, but there is nothing more fun that a visit with that little lady. Just don’t tell her she needs a nap or she might shoot you or make you vacuum under the bed!