Thursday, October 9, 2008

Family Profile: Nana

Muffin’s cute Mom, Nana, is loving this election. She has already voted by mail, so she will not need to set foot into a parking lot at early voting or on election day. That way, she can watch CNN and FOX and keep track of every red and blue duly elected official in the city, state, and nation. Mail-in voting also preserves her hip replacements and allows her to stay home in her comfy shoes. Nana would not be caught in public in her comfy shoes, oh no. We almost had to have a very undemocratic election to get her to wear the comfy shoes in the first place. It all went down when she had the second hip replaced and was attempting to leave the hospital and move to the rehab unit with her dress shoes on her feet. I realized we needed to act fast, went to the local athletic store and purchased some slip-on New Balance 801’s and some Skechers. At first she balked, in her polite way, and tried to manipulate us into allowing the slick soled heels, but even the rehab PT’s complimented the new shoes. Then all her friends loved them. Then Nannie started to wear them.

I had never thought about it much, but our mothers’ generation had never, ever worn shoes without backs. All their sandals had backstraps. No mules or clogs, flip flops, or rarely a house shoe without a heel or heel strap had ever touched their feet. They insisted those shoes would be impossible to retain on their feet. Last time I was at her house, Nana wore only the 801’s. Now she declares all others “too much trouble”.

Nana is a major piece of entertainment. Her three brothers and two sisters agreed. Papaw, may he rest in peace, always thought the same. Her dear mother, Grandmother L, had gone to glory when I met Muffin, but Gradpa L always said as he watched her walk away from him, “She could get there faster if she didn’t wiggle so much from side to side.” Her spectacular walk is somewhat reflected in little Roo.

But far and away, Nana’s great hidden talent is---drum rolllllllllll please!—turkey calling. This was a huge family secret for years. Then during one snowy Thanksgiving by the fire in her home of 50 years, when our daughters were very young, she decided to entertain them by demonstrating her very authentic turkey call. Did I mention that the vocalization is VERY authentic? Can you also picture this petite, and very pretty, very tidy, very proper and protocol prioritizing (OK, enough alliteration already) 70something grandmother flapping her lips with her index finger and mimicking a turkey in the wild? It was enough to make the dog-of-the-day, Buffy, sing along in high octave barks and howls!

Now, picture this. A few years later she did her turkey demo at a local market because the prize was a fresh turkey, just a few days before Thanksgiving. If there is anything Nana values more than her dignity, it’s a great bargain. That free turkey was too good to let go, so right there in the market, she sacrificed her dignity---and WON! Since then our daughters and Nana’s friends have not ceased to give her turkeys in many forms—salt & pepper shakers, stuffed, wind socks, ceramics, you name it. If you think this is a fowl collection you just don’t know our loveable Nana.

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