Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)
- TITLE: Winter Smiles
By Francy Judge
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Mom shushed me and whispered back, “Don’t make fun of your grandma…she’s had a hard life taking care of your sick grandpa.”
That didn’t really answer my question. “Maybe her pink lipstick tastes bad...amd that’s why she doesn’t smile.”
Mom glared at me as if she could shoot laser beams with her eyes. I got the message.
She didn’t laugh much before Grandpa passed away in October. I haven’t even seen her smile once since she moved in with us. Momma asked her to come live with us a month later. She didn’t want to move. I didn’t want her to move. But she did. Grandma sleeps in my bedroom and I have to share Bobby’s room. Do you know what it’s like to share a room with a three year old? Annoying up to the moon. I mean, come on…I’m almost a decade older than him.
The day she came, I was prepared. I moved my Wii System into Bobby’s room so Grandma could watch her old game shows and I could still have fun. When the taxi door slammed, I hopped on Bobby’s toy box—I hadn’t had my growth spurt yet—to look out the window. Wearing a red coat and matching feathered hat, she huddled against angry winds and resembled a giant cardinal as she trudged through the snow piles. I felt bad for her—until I heard her voice.
“Zacary, come take my bag. Does anyone ever shovel around here?”
Why can’t she call me Zac like everyone else in the world?
“Coming, Grandma!” I yelled thinking of what else to call her. Nana, Grammy, Old Nag.
Maybe I wouldn’t have minded Grandma staying if she was a normal Grandma. Homemade cookies and apple pie would be nice, but she didn’t like to bake. She could be a grandma who cheered from the sidelines when I scored a goal, but she didn’t like soccer. I wouldn’t mind her staying if she liked me.
Every day after school, I’d come home and find her in front of the TV, asleep with the remote in her hands.
“Hey Grandma, you look tired.”
“I’m not sleeping, just resting my eyes.” Then she looked at me under arched penciled-in eyebrows. “Would you like me to cut your hair? It’s too long, hangs in your eyes?”
“No, thanks. See yah later,” I dashed upstairs to enjoy a room to myself before Bobby came home from nursery school and practiced buzzing like a bee. I’d hide all scissors later just in case she wanted to play barber while I slept.
I pushed Bobby’s toys under his bed and played a game of Wii tennis—until I jumped on a block. “Yow! That stupid…!”
“What are you screaming about?” she yelled back.
“Nothing.” Go back to bed.
Grandma was like an added piece of furniture…until one monster bad day. The remote lay on the floor by the couch. Grandma’s arm hung limp over the arm rest. I shook her shoulders. “Wake up, Grandma.” Without thinking about her pug mouth, I did CPR like in health class and called 911.
Grandma came home from the hospital a few days after her mild stroke. This time, I was glad she came home.
“Zacary, come here,” she called as I opened the door, “I mean, Zac.”
“You want something?”
“Yes, I want to say thank you. You’re a pretty amazing twelve-year old.”
I hugged her, noticing she smelled like strawberries.
“What’s that game you’re always playing, stomping around all afternoon?”
“It’s Wii sports, a video game.”
“Could I try it? I’m sick of watching game shows.”
I showed her how to bowl with her one good arm. She even beat me one game…well, I let her win.
Now Grandma may be addicted to Wii bowling because she asks me to set it up and play every day after school. But that’s okay… she smiles a lot. And once in a blue moon she even laughs.
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