(…That Still Come in Handy Today)
I called my great-grandma Nanny. Nanny took care of me a lot. She took care of me before and after school, and she took care of me a lot of the times in between, too, mostly because I wanted to go and hang out with her. She was a really cool old person, and she spoiled me rotten. But I learned a lot of really good stuff from her, too—stuff I still use today. You know, wisdom-y stuff, and it’s only because I like y’all (and because I don’t want to forget it and also because I someday want my kids to inherit her wisdom) that I’ll share some of it here.
Nanny wasn’t the kind to mince words. She pretty much said things how she saw them, and she didn’t hold back—if something was good or bad, she told you. That was one of the funny things about her and also one of the outrageous things and probably one of the things that made people think she was senile when she got older. (If I get senile, I sort of hope I get senile the way she did it, because man, that will be fun!) She always looked so sweet and innocent in her double-knit pantsuit and sporting her tight little curly old-lady perm right before she belted out some cranky four-letter word followed by what would inevitably be words of wisdom I would remember for a lifetime.
For example, just yesterday, I told my husband, “Speak ass, mouth won’t.” He looked at me like I was from another planet, but I’m telling you it makes complete sense to me. I had heard that from Nanny all my life. If something needs to be said, by golly, you’d better be saying it, or you were going to hear it from her. Before I even thought twice about it, I spouted this out at him. I think he might still be trying to figure out what it means.
My all-time favorite is a little lengthy, but I believe it is quite worthy of its status in my mind. “I would rather put on a tin bill and pick shit with the chickens than….” You fill in the blank. You make this statement whenever there is something you really, really do NOT want to do. For me, that’s usually apologizing or letting go of a grudge or speaking in public. I would rather put on a tin bill and pick shit with the chickens than do most any of those things.
Lately, I’ve had more than my fair share of those tin-bill moments, and somehow I keep muddling through. Something, though, made me think of my Nanny. She’s been gone a long time, but man, that was one wise lady. I still think I’ll save her bits of wisdom to share with my kids when they are a bit older though.