Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Summer with Grandma

There is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11

“Will Southern Baptists go to Hell?”

I could not believe my ears. Delbert’s question was outrageous. After all a Baptist is a Baptist, right? I laughed inside, “Don’t they know I’m Beulah Jane Lark’s Southern Baptist granddaughter?” As my insides bounced around like waves on the ocean, my outside displayed strong righteous indignation. Thank goodness the Sunday School teacher hem hawed around and never said one way or the other. Still, the question shook me up. Me, go to Hell? I was only visiting for the summer.

Between the ages of eleven and fourteen, most of my summers were filled with two-week long visits to grandma and grandpa Larks house. I was young enough not to rebel against mother and old enough not to cause undue hardship for my grandma, except for the time I threw up on the other side of “grandpa’s” bed. Hey, I was sick. How in the world could I not throw up? In any case, I had to clean up my own vomit.

My older brother’s escape from these summer retreats made me seethe. He was four years older and got away with things that I, as a girl, could not. Like the time he drug me home from the school dance because he didn’t like who I was dancing with. What nerve! And, once he drove the family’s new Chevy sedan around the town square on two wheels. In a town of 600 it’s hard to keep something like that a secret. Did he get shipped to grandmas? Nooooo. Nothing happened to him. Oh, I think he had to work on the combine during harvest time a few extra hours but everybody did that.

Now don’t get me wrong. I loved my grandma and grandpa, but it was lonely snapping and shelling green peas and beans, and watching grandma watch “As the World Turns” (this is when soap operas were shown “live” on TV and for only 15 minutes per episode). Grandma’s ten inch black and white TV made the actors look like negative pictures. Nevertheless, grandma talked to them as if they were visiting while we snapped peas. With a sly smile on her lips grandma would revel on each word. “Uh oh, I knew she would do that.” Now how could my grandma know what a TV actor was going to do?

Summers with grandma were bitter sweet. Bitter because as a child I resisted enjoying her and I resented my mother for sending me there. I felt nothing in common because my grandma was just too old to relate to me. As an adult I find myself becoming more and more like grandma. I will be posting a series of short stories about summer at grandmas as I get to know her after the fact.

You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord. Leviticus 20: 32

Write it down,