Monday, August 27, 2012

Lies Grandma Told

I was recently looking at some photos of my brother, sister and I as kids, with Grandma Lill's cockatiel, Charlie, sitting on our shoulders.  All of us had our heads cranked straight ahead, but were looking at him out of the corners of our eyes.  I realized that all of our pictures with Charlie were like that - because Grandma always told us if we looked right at him from close range, he'd peck our eyes out.  I don't know if that's true, or if she thought it was true, or if she didn't want to take a chance on it being true, but I'm still scared to look a bird in the eye at close range 40+ years later.

Are you happy, Grandma??

I started thinking about some of the things she told us as kids - "If you swear, rocks and dirt will come out of your mouth, but if you talk nicely, flowers and sweet things will come out of your mouth instead."  I wondered briefly what rocks and dirt would taste like, but then decided that a flower in my mouth probably would not taste much better, so I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and crawled up to the mirror above the sink, and very cautiously said the first bad word I could come up with.  Shortly thereafter, I started to wonder if Grandma was full of... well... baloney.

Being a woman small in stature, and having charge of the three of us all day while my mother worked and Grandpa was out at the farm, she needed an Equalizer - and I think she found one in her little white lies.  For a long time after the "Rocks and Dirt" story, we talked nicely.  When I discovered that her attic was filled with wonderful old things to play with (without permission) she told me the floor was bad in spots, and if I stepped in just the wrong spot, I'd fall in between the walls and even Grandpa would not be able to get me out.   I never went up in the attic again without her.

She told me about her classmate at school, who squeezed a pimple on Friday and was dead of blood poisoning by Monday.

She told me the man across the street was a policeman, and if I left the yard without permission, he'd see it, and he *could* arrest me if he had a mind to.  Not saying he would, but you never know.  He doesn't like it when kids leave the yard without permission.

But she was right regarding a lot of things in life, and despite the occasional bamboozling, she taught me a lot. "Don't always trust whoever you're doing business with, they may not have your best interest at heart."  "Never quit your job until you have another one lined up."
When someone is talking trash about you, "consider the source."
Don't brag up your boyfriend to your girlfriends.
And, "If you have leftovers, you know everyone at your table got enough to eat," followed quickly by "Grind up your leftovers and put them in the meatloaf."

Love ya lots, Grandma, and miss you every day.


  1. I was just thinking this morning of some of the things my mom used to say and what I would say these days. They were expert at telling us things to keep some kind of control over our behavior, huh? Fun post, Karen.

  2. My grandma always told me that every stitch we sewed on Sunday would have to be taken out with our nose when we died and I've heard others say their grandma told them the same thing. It doesn't seem like we hear as many of those kinds of sayings anymore. It does make me smile when I remember some of those things my grandma said. Loved the post and thanks for helping us to remember.