Native Writes: A little old lady


A photo taken at a very happy reunion recently taught me that I may be in line for a new career.

If anyone is looking for a stereotypical little old lady, I’m available.

All my adult life, I was five feet, four inches tall and the doctor’s height measurement is five feet two and one half. Like an old house, I must be settling.

That explains the click in the back of my neck when I turn my head from time to time and the crunch in my knees.

It also explains why a foot-high step sometimes seems insurmountable. When I’m going with someone in a truck or van, I have a handy little folding stool to make the climb into a seat easier.

My daughter-in-law reminds me that I don’t come from tall stock. My mother was never more than five feet tall and her mother was just slightly taller.

My dad’s dad was about five feet six inches tall, but his mother was said to be six feet tall with red hair, green eyes and a personality to match. She died before I was born, but I have seen photographs of them together and she towers over him. My dad said they were like “Maggie and Jiggs” and I had to take his word for it, since the cartoon couple was no longer around when I became aware of the “funnies.”

I think some of her height has returned. All three of my grandchildren are as tall as I am and one is even taller. Their mom and dad are taller, as well.

I can handle all this, but I notice I am becoming more like my mother as time passes.

I love my family with all my heart, but they can make me so angry I could spit. My mom did. She was especially good with watermelon seeds and peanut shells.

I don’t spit. I hiss. My sons know when I am angry because I put my hand over my coffee mug and speak in very measured tones. “Is there anything new in your life that you’d like to tell me about?”

One of them dared to say, “You already know, so why should I tell you?”

Hiss, growl, drink a big swig of coffee.

“What makes you think I know anything?”

“’Cuz that’s how Granny made us tell.”

He was right.

“Well, maybe I know something else. Tell me what you think I know and let’s see if you’re right.”

Asking the same sort of question today, I usually stand up to my full imposing height. Somebody laughs.

The answer, whatever it is, doesn’t meet expectations. The floor doesn’t fall through, the wallpaper doesn’t peel.

“Thank you for sharing.”

That’s what I told the son who advised me that I should probably sit on a pillow when I drive because “you look little in your car.”

I tried using a pillow, but my feet didn’t reach the pedals.

My grandmother literally disappeared when she drove her big old Buick, but she could see where she was going, but my mom could use a pillow. Her legs were long for her height.

They were both “little old ladies,” so I guess I have it coming.

If anyone needs a stereotype, give me a call. I promise to keep my mouth shut.

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