Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some People

I was married to Dave M from 1980 - 1985. We had lived together for a year before that. He was/is/always will be an ass....a large trait I was unaware of until several years later. His grandma, however, was fabulous.

Ms. Florence married Mr. Dave SR, way back when. They always kept a large home in Norman, Oklahoma. I loved Ms. Florence. Their place was filled with the smell southern cooking, antique furniture from their parents, and love for family. She was such a "down-to-earth" and wise woman. I loved her and I know she loved me. I also loved her cook, who Florence admitted taught her all she needed to know about the culinary world.

Ms. Florence would come to Great Bend, KS. to visit her son and DIL (my in-laws)...and the rest of us.. at least twice a year. She loved taking day trips with me to flea markets and farmers markets. We had a blast taking inventory of what was valuable and she was so incredibly happy to be shopping for produce out of the back of trucks. Ms. Florence said that shopping at farmers markets was like being young again! My MIL would say "don't you write a check with our name on it, at those thrift stores."

I recall once, Florence was needing to use the "facilities" at what was then a very high-end kitchen store in Great Bend, KS. They said they didn't have a "local restroom" and that "Florence" would have to go home to use the bathroom. My poor 'grandma' was about to lose 80 years of integrity in this wanna-be shop. They had no idea who this lovely woman was. To them, she was just another old woman who they treated like an idiot, ( which is the way lots of older people are treated). I demanded they give her the same restroom that they use, unless they somehow hold their pee/poop all day long! [what I really said : you'd better let my grandmother use your facilities or I will personally shit into every bowl in your store]. Ms. Florence used the facilities..for quite some time that day. :)

When she finally came out of the restroom, she quietly said to me, "I have included my undergarments in my shopping bag...I do believe we should be headed home now". So we left. With her permission, we threw her soiled clothes into a dumpster behind the store and stopped at my home to give her some underpants to wear. We never spoke of it again.

She phoned me one day to tell me that she and her husband had caught a big King Salmon off the coast of Washington (while on vacation)...and she would bring it to me..to cook for a family dinner. ( they were in their late 70's then). I was freaked..as I was not sure what to do with a large fish. She promised to be there for me, in my hour of need. She showed up one day before...and told me how wrangle a 12 lb. King Salmon! She stayed with me the entire day..until the salmon was ready. She told me to spread the salmon open and insert onions, lemons, capers and wrap in heavy-duty foil....then cook for about 50 minutes on 350. She insited that I "touch" the fish in order to know if it was cooked just right. It was perfect! We always had a great time together...and she loved my boys.

Florence M died on about May 4th, 1985. Four weeks later, her grandson had his employees come into our/my home and move most of the furniture (including china) out....while my kids were at work with him...and while I was at my place of employment. He had been "their dad" for 5-plus years..and his parents had been their "grandparents" for five years, and his brothers had been uncles for five years. They knew what was going to happen that day...everyone knew but us. Then Dave takes the kids home and drops them off..in this almost empty house..and waits for me to come home, after calling me at work to tell me he wanted a divorce. Classy.

It was a devastating experience for all of us. Florence would not have been happy about this. That is why he (the ex) waited until she was dead to do such a thing. My ex then shipped his girlfriend up from Dallas and they began to live together. There was a huge engagement announcement in the local paper... two months after the divorce. Ah,,,the picture of the ex with his new wife... holding onto his arm. The kids and I were still picking up the broken pieces of our exploded hearts.

When my boys were young ( 7 and 10) , Ms. Florence told them to choose "a bell" to take home. She had a bell collection she'd treasured all of her life. Mike chose the brass bell of Napoleon and Jer chose the brass bell of David Copperfield. I knew these bells were very old and cherished. I saved them for years and finally gave them to my grown sons. Recently I was in Portland, with Mike, Jenn and Elaina (grandbaby). She was shaking that same Napoleon bell...which was in her toy box. I hope that one day, she'll know about who it came from.


Hahn at Home said...

Nice story, Mel. Too bad grandma didn't pass on some class to her grandson.

Eileen and Sue said...

great family stories.. love them

Anonymous said...

Until I was reading this I didn't remember the ass' wonderful Grandmother. What lovely memories she has left for you of those years. Hang on to the good and do the best you can to discard the shit. You were always to good for him...he just played the game very very well.
If I ever get a King Salmon...I'll know just what to do with it!