Granny used to embarrass the stew out of us.
She didn’t care if what she said offended someone either.
If it was on her mind, it usually came out of her mouth.
When she met someone I worked with years ago, she pointed out he was old and bald.
A few years after that, she met a friend of mine and promptly told her she was overweight.
“Now, I know I am fat,” Granny began. “But I’m old. A young girl like yourself needs to watch your weight.”
Another friend emailed me to tell me she wasn’t coming by to meet Granny. “I know I am overweight; I don’t need to hear Granny declare it as a fact.”
I was mortified.
That was nothing.
She proceeded to tell everyone what she thought, male or female, young and old.
Mama was convinced we just couldn’t take her anywhere in public.
“She was hollering at some young college boys the other day,” Mama told me. “She wanted to stay in the car while I ran in Barnes & Noble and I came out to her hooting and hollering, asking them in they liked older women.”
I told Mama I was sure those UGA student thought she was joking.
“One was running. He almost ran into a car in the parking lot,” Mama said.
There had been a time where we just knew Granny said things that she knew were controversial.
Or as she put it, “I am just a-sayin’ what everybody else is a-thinkin’ and too dang scared to say.”
We were not entirely convinced about this. Some of the things she said, we found it hard to believe anyone would think.
“It’s like she gets started and doesn’t know how to stop,” I observed. “And she kind of feels like once she gets on a roll, she wants to see where it goes.”
We were just thankful Granny wasn’t online. Never getting that woman a computer was the biggest public service we ever did, as she would have shared her opinions and running commentary with everyone.
Mama, bless her heart, has never been one to say an unkind or rude thing to anyone. And, thankfully, she always tried to make me cautious about what I said.
My earliest memory of this was during an event at school, a clogging group took to the stage to dance.
I think this was maybe the first time I had actually seen clogging, and it was different, to say the least.
Usually, when something is different, we dismiss it as being odd and say something snarky or critical, especially if you are around 9 years old like I was.
Mama quickly tried to shush me.
It didn’t work, and I had moved on to how the dresses the girls were wearing were dorky.
Mama all but put her hand over my mouth.
“Would you please shush?” she asked.
“Someone may hear you,” she said.
“They way up there on the stage, they can’t hear me.”
The look on the face of the woman in front of us told Mama that she was the parent of one of the cloggers I was ridiculing from my Pretty Plus seat.
“It’s a free country,” my Granny interjected, shooting the lady a look in return. “She can say what she wants to.”
“And what if what she says hurts someone’s feelings or makes them mad?” Mama asked.
“Well, it’s still a free country. She’ll have to learn there’s consequences to what she says, but don’t be a shushing her because she don’t like this clogging. It ain’t like its fancy like square-dancing!”
That moment stayed with me and I have taught my own son to be aware of what he says in public. “Someone may take it the wrong way,” I would tell him.
But of course, while I have been trying to teach my child how to not do something, what do I go and do?
Yup, I go and open my mouth and say something I shouldn’t.
He was able to witness it, too.
“They’re right behind me, aren’t they?” I whispered.
He nodded, a slow, steady nod full of wisdom and empathy for his Mama’s mistake.
“Drats,” I muttered before bolting with my child in tow.
“How in the world did they manage to be right there behind me? That’s why we really shouldn’t say anything like that unless we know we are in the privacy of our home.”
Upset, I decided to call my Mama for comfort and tell her of my mishap.
She answered the phone, her sweet, genteel greeting giving me a safe place to land.
I launched into what happened, complete with the words that had been used.
“Kitten,” Mama interjected. “I’m gonna stop you right there…I am at the doctor’s office….
“And you are on speakerphone. So let me call you back.”
I slid to the floor.
We used to worry about my Granny saying stuff and sticking her foot in her mouth. I go straight for the thigh.