You’ve Got Mail!

Man, I loved me some Blue’s Clues.

This post, however, is not about Steve and Blue and Magenta and Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper and Paprika. It is about good old snail mail. Remember that? People actually communicated like that. Used pens and paper and whatnot (emphasis on the h). As a child, it was one of my greatest joys to get the mail.

I grew up living next door to my grandparents. We lived in the country. The COUNTRY. We lived on over an acre and there was a farm around the corner country. Deer grazing at the bottom of the yard country. You get the picture. Oh, no street name or house number country. Just a rural route and a box number. That my parents shared with my grandparents. I can’t remember what year it was when they finally named our road and gave us house numbers, but I remember it being about calling 911 and having emergency personnel be able to find us. Although, truthfully, everyone knew where everyone else lived or gave directions by landmarks. For example, take 981 South until the cemetery on your right. Turn right at said cemetery and go 7/10ths of a mile and look for the house with Christmas lights on the left hand side.

But anywho, the mail. I loved to get the mail in the summer and sometimes during the school year because the mail would sometimes come really late. More often than not, my grandparents would indulge me in my little girl silliness. I was spoiled in my mail watch also. Gram and Pops installed a little yellow flag on a spring that they picked up that, when the door to the mailbox was opened, would pop up to let you know you had mail. So I would look out our front window down to the bottom of the yard to see if the mail had come when I thought I heard the mail truck go by.

After getting the mail, I would go to my grandparents’ house to sort it out. Funny, I almost never went in their front door. I would go around the back because the front door is for visitors. Typically, my grandfather would be sleep watching a soap opera and my grandmother would be sitting at the kitchen table doing a word search. OMG, sidebar.

I would do word searches with my Gram all the time. It’s partially due to her that I have this love of puzzles and word games. Well, one day we’re sitting at the kitchen table doing a word search and I am kinda leaning over her arm. Much to my horror, a dried up booger fell out of my nose and right into the center of the puzzle. Gram never said a word. Brushed the boog onto the floor and circled the next word.

I’d sort the mail out with my grandmother, and then, if I wasn’t going back up to the house right away, I’d put our mail on top of the fridge with part of the envelope sticking out. It was our little yellow flag inside the house.

Jump forward 30-ish years. I still love getting the mail. I love getting mail. Even when it’s junk. I mean, I realize that there’s a waste factor involved. But for me, it’s the difference between having a book in my hand as opposed to my Kindle. Luckily, hubby indulges me in this level of silly also. In the decade and change we’ve been cohabitating, pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times that he’s gotten the mail if I didn’t specifically ask him to. I am a special star. I know.

How’s about it? Got a quirk you wanna share?

It could only come from a grandparent

Growing up, we were a pretty tightly knit community.  My parents had the standard 2.2 kids (myself, my brother, and a half-brother that we never saw….until one day….and I didn't know…but that's another story), a decent house, they worked, we played.  We had a ton of neighbors (which made it so terribly difficult to throw a secret party) of which happened to include my grandparents.

I loved my grandparents and I still do even though they've passed on.  They provided me with all the love and attention a little kid could stand.  My mother tells me that when I was about 3 or 4, yes I was a precocious little bugger, I packed a plastic bag with my stuffed animals and proceeded to walk out the door.  She asked where I was going and I told her that I was running away.  And at the ripe old age of 4, I told her, "And you be good!" and off I went to my Gram's house. 

Ah, Gram's house.  So much packed into a little place.  So many memories, so many stories.  A book has got to be forthcoming.  Working title: Adventures of a Younger Me.  I digress. 

My grandparents were characters.  Gram was very church oriented with Sunday School every week, choir practice, and the like.  Pop, on the other hand, no church for him thank you very much.  Except holidays when Gram made him go of course.  Pop had a ritual that he followed just about daily and through the years, I got to see different parts of it.  The best thing though, hands down, about Gram and Pop, were the things they did and said.  These people who had lived through World Wars, being born in 1910 and 1912, lived through so many race issues, kids, grandkids, so much life!

And lively they were.  Once, I walked into the house to find Gram sitting at the kitchen table with some friends from church drinking beer!  To me, that was a huge deal.  And the topper was that just as I was walking in, someone at that grey-haired, little old lady table ripped the hugest belch I had ever heard.  At the time, I was stunned.  Looking back on it makes me laugh hysterically.  I mean, come on (Timmy), 5 or 6 little old ladies (I'd say they all had to be in their late 60s by then) drinking beer.  No bibles, just beer.  Wonderful!

Pop, well, I could go on for days about Pop, but if you really wanna know, keep bugging me to get the book finished.  But, I will share this one story with you. 

My father, may he rest in peace, was born in 1945.  So, in his teens and early 20s, black people and their hair were going through a revolution.  The young folk were getting their hair "conked", meaning straightened more or less, evidenced by the late, great Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

 

That hair looks shiny, even in black and white, for a reason.  It was more often than not, just plain greasy. 

Now, Pop, being a traditionalist and not much for the fads of the day, didn't care much for my dad having his hair in such a manner, but he apparently held that in for years and years and years until he could share that sentiment with me one day.  When that day arrived, he said to me in no uncertain terms that,

"Back in the day, your dad had a greasy mess on his head.  He had his hair conked.  There was so much grease in his hair, that a fly would need chains to land on it."

Flat out hysterical.  If you come from a warmer climate and aren't familliar with the reference, when it's cold and snowy, sometimes you put chains on your tires to get a better grip on the road.

Maybe you had to be there.  Maybe you'd just have had to have known him.  But maybe, maybe you don't. 

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