Over the weekend, I journeyed to the land of my forefathers… Okay, let me stop making it sound all Alex Haley-esque, like I went back to Africa and found Kunta-especially since I just went down to Tidewater area of Virginia for a family reunion. And beyond the gathering being a chance to watch my mom try to do the Booty Call. Or me begging my uncle to finally reveal that I am, in fact adopted because I can’t be related to these people. Or even during our family history having a cousin reveal that he might have married a distant cousin of ours… This weekend was a chance for me to have a face to face heart to heart with my grandma, where she handed me an old fashioned lesson about enduring.
Let me say that my grandma is one of my favorite people left in this world. It wasn’t always this way of course, especially when I was younger and I could only see her as that old lady who was my mother’s mother. And when my parents were going through their divorce, that old lady said a few unkind words about my father that had me crying and HATING her. But somewhere, thankfully, I got to know her as a person and realized that honesty is pretty much all a person is gonna get from her. Her truth is biting and the type that sometimes you just don’t want to hear. I guess because I’ve grown up in a sugarcoated culture it stings a bit more when granny keeps it real. Stop giggling so much-it’s not that funny! You better not embarrass me in front of these people now! Or that your food Ain’t hitting on nothing. But that’s just how grandma rolls.
And now that I’m older I’m privy to those grown up conversations held in the living room while the children run around outside (also, no more kids table-holla!). It was my grandma who revealed those secrets that paint a more colorful family picture…like who was gay, or an alcoholic and who was adopted into the fold. And somewhere during these care and share sessions, when she gets to something crazy that she just doesn’t understand she always says I don’t know, I guess I’m just old fashioned. And I never tell her she’s wrong, that she is the furthest from old fashioned. Born in 1928 my grandma is still driving her ’98 Volkswagen Jetta, checking her account balances online, and asked me to help her find her a pair of denim capris to wear with her calf boots.
Nor do I know many people my age whose grandma has a Master’s Degree…but mine does. And what I learned this weekend was that she quit her program two times before her final attempt. She told me how she would come home after work and class to find my grandfather reading his newspaper, and my mother and her two older brothers complaining about their hunger pains. And my grandfather’s response to the whole situation? Was that she should have been there to feed them children. Now, I loved my grandfather, but this was some bullsh*t! Two times my grandmother had to quit to tend to their children. Had to put her goals on hold. Had to wait and not faint. I told her that in today’s day and times that would have been grounds for a divorce! She laughed, paused, then said I suppose it would be now. I guess I’m just old fashioned. But you know on that last attempt your grandfather had dinner ready for me every night when I got home. Of course he was retired and the children where grown by then, but that food was good. And I’m glad I stuck with it because now I get an extra $2,000 in my check because of that degree. Well alright Grandma, make it rain! Make it rain!
Of course there was a message, encouragement and pieces of advice that I gleaned from my grandma’s tale, all of which I won’t bore ya’ll with. I’m just glad that old lady has become a friend who shares her stories that get me to thinking about my life and times. She makes me question what I feel I should be, what I should be doing, and what I’m willing to put up with because I’m an educated woman… As she casts her pearls onto me, I realize that I don’t know too much about nothing…and that’s the honest, old fashioned, timeless truth.
See You In Seven
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot