Mom and me went to the mountains for a vacation with Pops and Grammy Joy. Grammy Joy rode with her arm sticking out the window while Pops told her the whole way how dangerous that could be. “Joy, you’re likely to get that arm chopped off if I happen to clip a mailbox or somethin.’ “
Grammy Joy breezily waved the offending arm. “Well, don’t clip anything, Arthur.” She pushed her white cat-eyed sunglasses up on her nose and patted her French twist under the gauzy turquoise scarf tied tightly over it. I glanced at Mom—she rolled her eyes.
The sun was beating down on my neck something fierce, but Pops wasn’t going to put the top up on the convertible, no matter how chilly the wind or hot the sun, so I just sat back and looked at the scenery. The higher we got in the mountains, the more the trees turned gold, red and orange. Pretty soon, trees with colorful leaves surrounded us. I sniffed the air—it smelled funny, like Grammy Joy’s face powder—the spicy kind that made me sneeze. I wrinkled my nose.
As I watched Grammy Joy fling her arm about in the cool breeze that whipped along the car’s side, I wanted to try it, too. I glanced at Mom. She had her head back against the seat, her eyes shut. I sneaked my scrawny arm up and out into the wind. The strong current caught it like a piece of balsa wood and flung it back against the metal window frame. Ouch! Mom heard the thunk and opened her eyes quickly.
“Shelly Marie! Stop that! You heard Pops—that’s dangerous!” She shot Grammy Joy a pointed look, her lips pursed and thin. Grammy Joy turned her cat-eyes on me and shrugged. “Live and learn, I say.”
“Humph,” Mom answered. I saw her catch Pops’ eye in the rearview mirror. He smiled and raised his eyebrows, but Mom turned her head away.
When he pulled the car into the drive that curved in front of the Glen Acres Lodge, Pops shut the engine off with a sigh. “We’re here!” he announced happily.
“And not a minute too soon, Arthur. My skirt is about as wrinkled as an old lady’s cheeks.” Grammy Joy got out of the car and stretched herself like a lean lion. Her gold-bangled arms slid over her head and she yawned. “Oh my! A nice stretch is just the tonic I needed.” She turned and opened my door. “Hop out, Kiddo! We’re in for some fun times.” She laughed and chased me to the double doors.
Once Mom caught up with us, she gave me a look that said, “Mind your P’s and Q’s, Missy!” and I instantly calmed myself. Pops checked us in and led us down the hall to our suite of rooms. He proudly showed us the connecting door and said again how good it was to have us along. He gave Mom a quick hug and she smiled. Grammy Joy and Pops retreated behind their door and Mom helped me unpack. Then she stretched out on the bed and patted a spot beside her. I curled up with her and grinned.
“This is nice, Mom. I’m glad we came.” She said nothing, but I saw tears gather in the corner of her eyes. She swiped them angrily and then softened when she caught me looking.
“Yes. It is.” She pulled me close. “I don’t want you to think I don’t like—Grammy-- Joy. But, I miss my mom. Do you remember Grammy Dorothy?” she asked wistfully.
“Sure. She always told me funny stories and made the best cookies.”
Mom smiled. “Yes…she was crazy about you.” She paused and I could tell she was thinking of Grammy Dorothy.
“I loved her. Pops did, too. And now he loves Grammy Joy, right?”
Mom nodded, but her face looked red. I gave her a tight hug. “We can love lots of people, right, Mom?”
Mom stared into space and then hugged me closer. “Yes. We can love lots of people.”
She got up and motioned for me to come out on the deck with her. We looked out over the mountains and watched lazy hawks floating on the cool autumn air while the trees shifted colors against the spicy breeze.
Then, from next door, we heard Grammy Joy laughing, her bangles clinking. Pops laughed right back at her, and Mom whispered. “We can love lots of people…yes.”
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