Monday, July 25, 2011


The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
- Unknown

I frequently complain that The Spawn are stubborn. And lazy. And spoiled. And too smart for their own good. Geez, I just shouldn't have procreated. I'm a sucky mother.

Anyway, back to stubborn. Stubborn runs in the family. My mother would have you believe that the stubborn comes from my father's side, but that's just not so. The hot-headed - that comes from the paternal branch, but the stubborn? That's Mom.

Mom grew up poor as one of five children. Her mother held the family together and her father was often away working and drinking. The family lived in a rural area of the Southeastern Indiana hills. A big weekend was a trip to Granny and Grandad's. That was a real treat.

Granny and Grandad lived on a small farm. I remember going there as a child and playing with old Dairy Queen dishes and spoons on the front porch. We'd put hedgeapples on the country road in front of the house so that the cars going by would smash them. They looked like green brains dotting the tarred road. The thing I remember most is the outhouse. Even in the early 1970's Granny and Grandad didn't have an indoor toilet. Can you imagine? Not much had changed since my mom as a kid - my great-grandparents remained on that farm, frozen in time, until they died..

When my mom (let's call her L'il R) was about six years old, she and her brothers, sister and cousins were spending a weekend at Granny and Grandad's. They were just sitting down to supper at the big country kitchen table when they heard the crunch of tires as a car rolled into the dirt driveway. Now if you've ever lived in the country or watched The Waltons, you know what happened next.

Everyone, young and old, leaped up from the table and raced out the kitchen door to see who was there. L'il R grabbed her hot dog and carried it with her.

Granny ordered L'il R to take her hot dog back to the table because there was only one for each person and Granny didn't want the dog to steal the wiener from her. L'il R refused and before she could bat her long, black lashes, the pooch was running down the wooden porch steps, the hot dog hanging from his mouth. She began to wail.

The visitor was ushered inside and everyone returned to their supper. L'il R continued to cry and demand another hot  dog. Granny told her that there weren't any more hot dogs. L'il R cried harder. Granny told her to sit down and be quiet. Eat what's on your plate

Shedding more tears, L'il R ran to the screen door and announced that until she got another hot dog, she'd just hold the screen door open and "let the flies in."

That was enough for Grandad.

My mom. The only kid in that whole mess of brothers and sisters and cousins to ever get a spanking from Grandad.


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