Welcome to the Big City
I was all excited, like on the first day of summer after a long, grueling year at school. Butterflies were dancing in my stomach as I checked and re-checked my “to do” lists.
Running down the lists, I began to complete the self-assigned chores, cleaning the house, getting dinner started, all while keeping a watchful eye on the clock. Why is it when you’re waiting on something important, time creeps by? Every once in a while, I would glance back to see how many minutes had passed by. Two. Four. One time, I actually had waited seven minutes before checking. This was making for a long day.
All of my anticipation was in honor of a visit from my oldest daughter, Maggie. When she married, her husband had moved her all the way to a little farm in Oklahoma, way, far away from her big city trappings here in Southern California. We would make a family trek there every other year, and they would come here every other year. This time, it was their turn to come to us. I could hardly to wait to get my arms around her again, to hug her and know she was alright.
But, truth be told, I was really looking forward to seeing my grandson, Micah. He had only visited Grandma a few times throughout his short life, but we kept in touch by phone, and e-mail pictures. This year, he was four years old, and had become quite verbal. When we spoke on the phone, he’d be chattering about everything and absolutely nothing, and of course, being his Grandma, I was absolutely enchanted by this little boy. I couldn’t keep my mind off of him. I wanted to get my hands on him, to give him a big Grandma hug.
This year, I was a little worried about how he would take to life in our big city. Cars rushing to the next traffic jam, sirens blazing in the distance, our crowded, bustling city was a world away from the easy going, hard working life of the farm he was growing up on. The people looked different. The people were different. I was hoping he would not be scared by the people, or the things here.
Finally, the hour came to head out to the airport. I spotted them the minute they rounded the corner at the terminal, and we all ran into each other’s arms. Everyone was laughing, everyone was so happy to be together. That “absence makes the heart grow fonder” adage seemed to be the perfect catch phrase at the moment.
At home, they settled into Maggie’s old bedroom, unpacking clothes, toys, and shoes. My daughter presented her sisters with some special gifts brought from her very own farm. Everyone squealed with delighted horror when she produced a jar of homemade pickled pig’s feet. She shared many stories of her life as a farmer’s wife.
My grandson came and sat on my lap. Laying his head against my chest, he began to share his own stories all about his home. He shared about the new born piglets, and how he saw a pony “being borned”. He shared about all the chores he could do, since he was a big boy now. His favorite chore was feeding the chickens, and helping to milk the cows. Whispering into my ear, he told me a secret: he’d make sure to give all of the baby kitties a squirt of warm milk when they’d come meowing at his milking stool.
As evening came, my youngest daughter, Kathleen, was getting ready to go to a Youth Event at our church. The youth group had started a Saturday evening “get together” night for teens 13-17. Picking a theme for the night, there would be music, karaoke, refreshments, and good old “just hanging around” in a building rented very near our church. The young people had set up the room like a “real” nightclub….round tables for sitting, a small stage for the entertainment, and a full bar---full of sodas, water, tea and snacks.
The “club” packed out on Saturday nights, and the kids had quit complaining about having nothing to do on the weekends. They would spend the days before the next Saturday night planning the new themes and the décor, while getting ready for the next crowd.
The themes that had been picked so far were: Saturday night fever, The 50’s, Rhinestone Cowboy, and Funkadelic. The youth group had a lot of fun, dressing up and singing their heart’s away to the “old” music and contemporary Christian sounds. Sometimes, they would have a guest band, or even a comedian to entertain the crowd.
Tonight’s theme was “Punk”. My daughter had sprayed her hair a bright blue, and borrowed the dog’s best collar. She ripped an old pair of fishnet stockings, and snatched up her brother’s old army boots. Trusting her older sister to paint her face, she sat on the floor going through a pretty awful transformation from darling to “darkling”.
“It doesn’t matter that much what the makeup looks like, Mom! I’m a punk!” she offered when I began lamenting over the dark strokes of color going on so vividly over the white pancake foundation. My grandson looked at me, rolling his eyes. “Girls are crazy, Grandma. I’m glad you’re not a girl.”
I was watching him carefully, not wanting to have him scared by the “big city” antics of his aunties. But, he seemed to take it all in stride as he sat there, watching my beautiful freckled face darling turn into a wild and crazy looking punk rocker. He and I headed into the kitchen for a cup of kool-aide.
Soon, the doorbell rang. “Oh, Mom!” my punk-daughter called, “Mom, that must be my friend Jeff! He and the other kids were coming here to pick me up, to go to the club!”
As I headed towards the door, Micah grabbed my hand and walked to the front room with me. Turning the knob, I opened the door, and was startled at the face looking back at me. I could barely recognize Jeff- he had on a fire-engine red , head-to-toe leather outfit, with bright red knee-high boots, complete with 5 inch heels and spurs. Jeff had spiked his hair using a 3-alarm red gel, and sported a nice, neat row of deadly looking spikes right down the middle of his entire head. His face was covered with streaks of red slashed vibrantly across his face.
I caught my breath, regaining my wits. I finally remembered to look at my grandson, who was standing there staring at Jeff, mouth fully agape.
“Micah, honey, are you ok?” I ventured, worrying that he, too had been scared at the boy’s appearance.
Micah looked at me, and then back at Jeff. Without missing a beat, he pointed at the amazing creature standing in front of us, and remarked, “Wow, Grandma! Look at the size of that chicken!”
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