Something old...

This my husband's favorite piece of my writing. He read it when we were dating and still married me.   

I don’t get along very well with my grandmother. Some people find this odd, but I feel that I have very good reasons not to like her. I’ll let you be the judge.

On a bright, warm, summer day when I was seven, my grandmother was babysitting my brother and me. She’d been babysitting us for a week already because my mom and dad were on vacation.

My brother and I were playing outside. We ran around the house screaming and yelling, and as normal, we were fighting. Around noon, Grandmother called us in the house to eat lunch. I knew it was going to be something extremely gruesome. Probably something like broiled catfish heads with rotten, moldy spinach as a sided dish. Yuck! I didn’t want to eat whatever concoction she had cooked, so I just pushed around what I thought were eyeballs. Finally she said, “There are starving children in Africa that would appreciate this meal.”

“Yeah, well you can send them mine. I’m sure I won’t mind,” was my brilliant seven-year-old reply.

“You are an ungrateful little brat. You will eat this delicious catfish, the tender spinach and drink this ice tea flavored with chilled goat’s blood. Or you will sit in that chair for the next four weeks until your parents return,” the old bat replied.

I must admit, it was a rather uneventful four weeks sitting in that chair, staring at the poor bulging eyes in the little catfish head, as it turned green with age. Grandmother only let me leave the table to use the bathroom.

One day when I was in the bathroom, I took a drink of water. When Grandmother heard the water running, she broke down the door with one of my father’s axes. She then proceeded to lash my back fifty times with a stalk of rhubarb while screaming, “You’re not allowed to drink anything until you finish your tea and catfish.”

Since she had crushed my spine, I was no longer able to sit in the chair by my own power. She tied me upright in the chair with piano wire, rather tightly – I have scars on my arms where the wire cut through my skin. I thought it was great because my head drooped. I didn’t have to gaze at the pile of mold and maggots crawling on my plate anymore. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that Grandmother was the queen of problem solving.

“Ah ha. A simple hangman’s noose hung from the light fixture should hold her head at the proper angle,” I heard her mutter as she cooked my brother’s breakfast one morning. She was so excited by the thought, she ran out of the house and hopped into her Amish buggy pulled by her mule, Doreen.

They trotted down to the store to buy a standard length of baling twine. After they made their purchase, Doreen galloped home with Grandmother bouncing along behind in the Amish-mobile. When she arrived, she hung my head with great pride.

My poor younger brother starved to death because Grandmother was too busy torturing me to feed him. I would have starved too, but it turned out that I was quite the escape artist. I escaped every night and ate potato chips and drank pop while the wart-covered hag was asleep.

When I was nine, Grandmother came back for a visit. Gee. Why wasn’t I as excited as my parents about her impending arrival?

As Grandmother waddled up the sidewalk, I told my mother that I had died. It wouldn’t be proper for a dead person to eat at the table with an old, smelly woman. I thought it was a great solution. I was wrong.

Grandmother decided to cook me some graveyard stew. It would make me feel better, she said and trotted outside. I stood in the door and saw her crawling around in the back of her buggy, with her large rump sticking up in the air.

All of a sudden, I saw all sorts of things flying out. Roast pig tongue, I think. There were some cheese puffs floating through the air when I heard her exclaim, “Ahh. Yes. Just what I was looking for. My famous toenail collection. Now if only I could find that bag of toadstools and night crawlers.”

At this point, I was ready to regurgitate my latest meal. I ran back to the kitchen and begged my mother to kill me. “I’ll die if I have to eat that. Just kill me now, Mommy.”

“No. I want you to suffer first,” was her unkind reply.

Grandmother concocted her famous graveyard stew. I watched with great dread as she poured two cups of blood into a small saucepan. Then she dumped in half a cup of the toenail clippings.

“But, Grandma. There’s fuzzy stuff in there,” I tried to point out.

“Toe jam. It’s good for you,” she replied calmly. “Add six of those night crawlers and nine toadstools now.” She boiled it for ten minutes, tied me to the hooks my parents had installed on the floor for just this purpose and poured the bubbling vomit down my gullet.

Needless to say, I have learned to be away from home when Grandmother visits now. I broke my leg with a baseball bat one time so I’d be in the hospital when she was at my house. Another time I sawed three of my fingers off with an electric knife. Now, I just say that I have to work.

I wrote this in high school for an assignment in Creative Writing. We were supposed to write about a childhood experience. We never did anything fun or exciting when I was a child. If you're curious, I aced the assignment. I haven't edited anything (other than a name to protect the innocent), just pulled it out of the "Trunk O' Writing Junk."