Monday, October 29, 2007

"One bunch of grapes," repeated my uncle. Smack went the paddle. "One bunch of grapes," said my uncle. Smack went the paddle. Mrs. Coble meant to win, but my Dad reported cheerfully his little brother held strong and had the final say, after the final futile smack. They ran out the schoolhouse door, making the other kids smile and yearn or tskk: those boys!

We were treated to more stories this weekend at the propped up feet of my reclining, grinning father. He's a natural storyteller, but he says he won't write a western this winter like I want him to. He'd rather have the immediate stage and laugh from all of us. This weekend, he told one story twice, which made me look at my mother and comment upon this fact, which becomes a hereditary trademark at around age 90 and the mind is an endless spin cycle. My grandmother lives in the nursing home in such a tight circle of memories, frets, pleasures, fears. She has the staff call, every once in a while, when they can't calm her down, her son, my dad, and she tells him that her niece, really her daughter, is lost, and she can't find her, and she's at a restaurant called "Autumn Oaks", and her car won't start. Dad reassures her that this niece is spending the night with them, and she is relieved, and her mind turns to the next groove (when she saw decorative crepe paper hanging on the walls of the nursing home, she turned and said to the attendant, "Well, why are my bras hanging out here!"). She's lived here for about four turning years.

But, for now, we enjoy Dad's stories, even twice told, because he always manages to say one new kicker, one funny line that has us grinning and dimpling up at his propped up feet and bright eyes.

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