My Grandma, Mary Elizabeth Hanson, passed away early Friday morning. She was a great lady, vivacious, full of spunk and strong opinions, always feeding people, issuing orders. She lived a good, full life and will be missed by all of us (including her and Grandpa's 7 children, 36 grandchildren, and heaven only knows how many great grandchildren).
Following is a poem I wrote about Grandma several years ago.
Glimpses of my Grandma
her wild white hair tied sloppily in pigtails,
the loose strands waving like seaweed,
with the passion of a lover,
and the volume of a fog horn--
at the feet of a man whom she loudly pronounces to be a "jackass"
(he didn't choose her granddaughter as Miss Carbon County)
lying, broken-hipped, in a puddle of oatmeal, dramatically
"Bring them in quietly!
No bells or whistles!
These accidents are getting monotonous!"
and later demanding,
through blind eagle-eyes, that
sit down at that old piano
and feed her the savory meat she craves--Bach and Rachmaninoff and Joplin or
anything musical, really--
as long as it was played now (and decently),
scanning sharp eyes over a premature great-grandson
in hospital intensive care
whose "plumbing" doesn't work quite right,
"it's a shame--
he has such a beautiful penis!"
her home is a swallow's nest
of clutter held together by mismatched
bits of squabbling,
swatches of old newspaper articles she wrote herself,
chipped dishes she pushes under our faces,
piled high with
burn bran balls and peach chutney
or hot dogs for breakfast.
she tosses verbal tomatoes
(red ripe ones--she is a writer)
at Grandpa, who flings them back
they snarl and growl at each other all the way to their bed
where they've slept side by side for almost seventy years.
Grandma laughs like an excited hen with a microphone,
pierces like a tack underfoot,
feels things with her belly,
lets them cut
like the electric knife she uses on her hard brown bread
that sparkles as each slice falls
into a pile of crumbs on her worn cutting board.
I love you , Grandma.