Tonight, a very special edition of Grandma Said…
My maternal grandmother, whom all the grandchildren called “Nan” or “Nannie,” never had a negative word to say about anyone or anything. She would say something positive in the most sarcastic voice possible, but she would never stoop to using any kind of pejoratives or insults.
Once we took her to see Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall. She wasn’t the least bit interested in seeing the movie, but everyone else was going, and she didn’t want to be left out. Well, I think the last movie she had seen on the big screen was Gone with the Wind, so she was in for something of a shock, considering all the nasal probe guns, stomach-dwelling mutants, and three-breasted prostitutes Arnold’s movie had to offer. However, when we asked her whether she liked the film, all she would say was
Oh, yes. I loved it.
The only person she ever seemed to have any animosity for was herself, for whom she reserved the most vicious insults. “Dumb Dora don’t know nothing,” she’d say. Or when she spilled something while cooking— “I’m the biggest gobble-gut in the country.”
Nan was a mild-mannered Southern woman, but she was much stronger than we realized. I’m not talking about that Oprah-moment, you-go-girl kind of strength, either. I mean she was physically much stronger than we gave her credit for, which my brother learned at his peril. Once, when she came out of her room after watching You Can Be a Star on TNN, he strode up to her and said, “You wanna wrastle?”
Nan’s response was swift and immediate. “I believe I do,” she told him, and proceeded to body slam him into the couch.