Category Archives: Grandmother Nellie – The Wicked Witch of the West

Patience is a Virtue – Just Not One of Mine

No resemblance to me whatsoever.

Patience:   Creating a sense of peaceful stability and community rather than suffering, hostility and antagonism.

“Do you have a reservation?” The airport parking lot attendant asked me.

“No,” I said rubbing the face of my watch, hoping to erase a few minutes.  “I don’t have a reservation.”

“Well.  You’ll have to do valet.”

I cringed at the thought of how much that would cost me but, looking at my watch again, I realized I was out of options if I was going to make my flight.  (Actually, if I was going to be an hour early for my flight – which I have to be, because I’m a freak.)

I pulled over into the Valet lane and got out of my car.  While I tapped my foot impatiently, a conversation waged in my head.  If this is going to cost twice as much as regular parking I should at least be getting special service.

And then I waited and waited and waited.     —  I’m going to pay three times as much for Valet and waiting longer, that doesn’t make sense.

I got back in my car to check the time stamp on my ticket against the current time so I could be justified in my impatience.  Valet’s going to cost me more than my flight did!  Man, they’re going to get a piece of my mind. 

The bus finally arrived and I stomped on and then slumped into my seat.  If I’d been a cartoon character, the other passengers would have seen smoke coming out of my ears.  I made it off the bus without murdering anyone, but stewed and fretted about it the whole trip.

My return flight landed at 10 pm and by the time I got my luggage and climbed on the parking bus I was tired and cranky.  But, as we pulled into the parking lot, I brightened.  After all,  I was a VIP Valet Parker, I’d be the first one off the bus.  Oh yes, all that money I was paying would be well worth it.  Hee hee.

He stopped and let someone else off first.   “Excuse me,” I politely said.  “I’m a valet parker.”  I smiled condencendingly at the rest of the bus.

“Yes, I know,” the driver said.

Striking resemblance to Grandmother Nellie

He then promptly let the next person off…and the next…and the next.  With each departing passenger my impatient, self-righteous indignation grew.

Finally, I was the last one off the bus — but before I snatched my keys from his hand, I asked in my haughtiest Grandmother Nellie voice, “Just exactly what are the special services that come with paying extra for valet?  Because I certainly haven’t experienced any!”

“Ma’am.”  He sighed.  “You’re not paying for valet.”

“But, but…” I sputtered pointing at the keys to my car that he held in his hand.

“We don’t even have valet service.  We just parked your car for you as a favor.  It’s the same price as everywhere else.”

So, cross off Patience from my list of virtues.  Obviously, we can also remove Chastity and may as well erase Humility.  I’m still hanging on by a thread to Charity, Kindness and Temperance.  But I’m keeping Diligent – because no one is more diligent then I am when it comes to impatience.


Speaking of impatience – I’m not sure how much longer I can wait for you to subscribe before I go all Grandmother Nellie on you.


Matching Dresses $#%?!

When I was little…well, I’ve always been little…when I was young, my Grandmother Nellie sewed several sets of matching dresses for my sister and me.  To any young parents out there – This is NOT okay!

I was a tomboy so didn’t like dresses in the first place and when I finally managed, after several years, to grow out of the first dress  that I hated, I had to wear the exact same dress again handed down from my sister.

I’ve been thinking about clothes a lot this week because I’ve crossed paths with two unique individuals that I can’t quite get out of my head.  The first one was at the shoe repair shop.  I walked in to see a slightly stooped old man behind a tall counter wearing a threadbare white button down shirt.  At the end of our conversation he walked out from behind the counter where I discovered he was wearing a pair of tight leather pants with a lace up crotch.  Hmmmm.

The next guy was at the coffee shop.  I stood behind what I could only assume to be a teenager – grey baggy hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, extra-large/extra-baggy blue nylon shorts, orange banded white sport socks pulled up to just below the knee and brightly colored leather high top sneakers.  He bobbed his head to the rap music I could hear booming from his earbuds.  He turned around after he ordered his coffee and I was face to face with a 75-year-old man.  Hmmmm.

Evidently, these two guys found a look that worked for them and they decided to stick with it – FOREVER!

I’m looking at the picture above and realize that right now I’m probably not much taller than my sister was in this picture and since both dresses had 10 inch hems (notice the rick rack used to disguise the lengthening process) maybe I could still rock this look.  Hmmmm.

P.S. – More Trauma.  These are the kind of memories this picture brings up for me. Those wavy curls of mine were formed by an uncomfortable night sleeping on pink foam hair curlers.

Torture Device #1

Followed by a scratchy petticoat.

Torture Device #2

And the most humiliating of all…ruffled underpants.

Torture Device #3

Beware Alligators

Beware TO Alligators

I want to be one of those perpetually nice people.  Really I do.  But it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out that way.

Our last trip was to Kiawah Island.  We landed at 11:30 pm in Charleston.  Charleston hates me, by the way.  The one other time I’ve been here we flew in slightly ahead of a hurricane with enough turbulence to last me a lifetime.  Then the driver got lost and couldn’t find our hotel.  Then the hotel didn’t have any electricity.

But I digress.  This time there was no driver.  We waited around until midnight, then convinced another driver to abandon his rider and take us to the hotel.  We arrived at the check-in desk around 1 am – behind six other people, one of who was trying to change rooms because he had no hot water.

I’m reading a book by Fannie Flagg and one of the characters is a perpetually happy person.  Hazel convinces her friends to take belly dancing lessons and then to march in a local parade.  She sounds like fun.  Hazel sounds like someone I want to be like.

Instead, I’m like my Grandmother Nellie.  I spent the trip sighing, moaning and mumbling nasty remarks under my breath.

Evidently embodying Grandmother Nellie burns a lot of calories because I woke up the next morning starving.  Our villa was a ten minute walk to a restaurant and we came across this sign along the way.  My husband kindly pointed out that with my bad attitude he thought the alligators were the ones in danger.  I decided to be Hazel and let him live.



Missed Manners

I found this note, in my mother’s handwriting, as I was digging through a box that belonged to my grandmother. I swear, that woman can still make me feel guilty.

My grandmother, “Don’t you dare call me Grandma,” Nellie, had one goal in life — to teach her wild grandchildren to have good manners. As a child, I sat through hours of angst-ridden instructions on the proper handling of silverware and napkins. A lesson on how to hold your glass properly so as not to end up with a milk mustache seemed particularly useless. My only concern at home on the farm with my sister and brothers was how to obtain the actual milk before they did.

One Thanksgiving dinner Grandmother Nellie assigned me the chair to her right to “control Teresa’s fidgeting,” as she said. She spent the meal correcting my every move. “Pass the food from left to right. Don’t gulp your water, sip it. Quit fidgeting!” Toward the end of the meal she whispered between gritted teeth, “Get your elbows off the!”

I yanked my arms away and slid my elbows through the slats in the back of the chair, where they promptly got stuck. I sat quietly through the rest of the meal. My arms were tucked tight against my sides, my elbows held firmly from behind by the hateful chair slats. I politely declined any extra food offered to me and although Grandmother expressed her unhappiness at the food left on my plate, she did praise me for sitting so upright and proper.

People began to notice something was wrong when I left the dessert, angel food cake (my favorite) untouched on my plate. Grandmother immediately demanded that I remove my elbows from the chair but I could not get them free. I’m not sure when the tears started, probably when my older brother suggested we cut off my arms.

Disgusted with the entire scene, Grandmother marched into her bedroom and returned with her face cream. She slathered up each of my elbows and they finally slid free. She hurried to the kitchen and returned with a soft dishtowel. Grandmother knelt down and murmured, “Oh dear, I hope there’s no damage,” as she gently wiped the greasy face cream from the slats of her chair.

Thanks to Grandmother Nellie, I am comfortable at any formal gathering. I know how to use the proper fork and which direction to pass the food. I can even drink a foamy latte without getting a milk mustache. And my elbows? They’re right where they belong. Safely resting on the table.