by Gene Greene Goodson
No doubt about it, grandmothers are not at all what we were way back when. I’m telling you that living longer, hair color and Botox wears really well. I have spent nearly all of my youth in an office, in malls or at the beach, not exercising or planning meals as I do now. I helped build our nest egg but avoided cooking eggs. Joined at the hip with early retirement, I pondered running for elective office but knew our county would actually vote for my husband’s expertise.
I remember my mother, Robbie Marie, aka Nanny. An undisciplined Southern Belle with a cigarette in her mouth, eyes in the back of her head and her 38 pistol within reach, she read minds. Soaked in Avon Skin-So-Soft, she frequently warned my children to “never stray from the beaten path . . . too many Gawddam snakes and spiders.”
I remember Mama chaperoning my four children and me on our frequent trips to the beach. Mama's loaded 38 pistol rested on the dashboard just in case motorists passed in a reckless manner or made rude gestures. She always called them by their proper names, “Sons-Uh-Bitches,” when she waved her weapon in their direction.
She wore a one piece, latex chartreuse swimsuit with her cigarettes, money and car keys tucked inside her ample bosom. Her other pistol, a 22 caliber, sometimes nestled there, too. She took full advantage of her stunning beauty and always wore make-up, perfume, earrings, all of her diamond rings and Miss Clairol’s black hair, just in case paramedics saw her underwear.
It was I who wore a plain bathing suit, ankle length cover-up, floppy straw hat, sunglasses and a shake and bake tan. Nothing camouflaged having knees on the wrong side, however.
Mama frolicked and posed in the warm Gulf waters, ever mindful the camera was on her. Surrounded by my four little girls, two who wore swimsuits of the same design, she set about expanding their vocabulary with each visit. Words like “Son-Uv-Uh-BI***, SH**, God**** and BAST***”” were staples in Mama’s theatrical trunk.
If my grandchildren lived near me, I would haul out my bathing suit, sunglasses and straw hat, tie my silver hair in a ponytail and take them to the beach. I would practice my theatrical, Southern voice on them . . . but I'd forego Mama's expanded vocabulary and pistols.
G. G. Goodson writes online using the penname “RiverDancer.” She says she has no credentials other than she is a retired Corporate Director of Human Resources. She works occasionally as a Surface Mine Safety consultant. RiverDancer and her husband have lived in the panhandle of Florida all their lives. Write Gene Goodson at GOODSON E-mail .
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