Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Best Easter Vacation Ever

When I was five, I went to Florida to visit my Grandparents and Great Aunts at Easter. Grandaddy was the coolest companion a kid ever had. He took me places and led me into adventures. Grammy often didn't appreciate our shenanigans. We always knew we'd stepped over the line when we heard her call, "Arm-strong!" We were in trouble then.

We found a baby blue jay that had fallen from the nest and rescued it. Grammy was tipped off by the hysterical screaming of the parent jays as they chased us to the house, pecking holes in Grandad's bald head.


Grandad had to brave the parents again to return the fledgling to where we found it. They knocked off the hat he'd slapped onto his head before he was halfway there. By the time he was back inside his whole head was red and splotchy with blood and peck marks. He let me wash it off for him and put Bactine on it.

I was always accused of being "a dreadful wiggle worm", a charge that I denied. Grandad bet me my Easter basket that I couldn't sit still for three whole minutes. I think I could have done it if he hadn't tickled me. Nothing had been said about tickling though, so I surrendered my Easter basket. Grammy came into the room and saw Grandad munching on my chocolate bunny as I watched with tragic eyes.


I got my Easter basket back. Along with a lecture about gambling.

We were out in the garden one day when a big hail storm blew up, so we ran into the shed and watched the huge white ice rocks pelt the ground. I remembered the old sauce pan he mixed his chemicals in -- the perfect helmet. I clapped it over my head and asked if I could go out and collect some hail stones. Of course he said yes, so out I ran. That lasted all of about 10 seconds before I got hit on the foot and changed my mind. We didn't tell Grammy about that.

Sometimes she found out even if we swore secrecy, though. Like the time he took me pony riding. We went out to the farm and he slung me up on the back of a pony with no saddle or bridle and popped the pony on the butt. It took off and the rest of the herd galloped with us. We ran like the wind! I turned around to watch the pony herd following us and didn't see the low branch we ran under.

Whack! Flat on my back on the ground.

The ponies tried to split and run around me, but one of them wasn't able to. It stepped right in the middle of my chest. Left a great big hoof print.

Grandad and I both knew there would be trouble if Grammy found out, We pricked our fingers with pine needles and took an oath of secrecy. Unfortunately, Grammy had no respect for a five-year-old's privacy and walked in on me in the bathtub that night.


Mostly we got Arm-strong'ed for relatively little things like pulling the tails off chameleons when trying to catch them. Whenever one of us did that, we'd be told by our partner in crime, "I'm gunna tell Grammy on you." Our blackmail lists were longer than our memories.

Once I tried to pat a live alligator. It wasn't the biggest alligator at Gator World, it was probably only six or seven feet long. Grammy heard him laughing at me climbing over the wire fence to get at the big lumpy fang-face. She turned around just as my feet hit the ground on the gator side of the fence. The gator saw me too and smiled real big.


Grandad leaned over the fence, grabbed me by one arm and hoisted me out as the alligator came running over to get his pat. Then I had to go sit in the car for a long time while Grammy and Grandad had "An Adult Conversation."

Fortunately that was the last day before I flew home to Michigan because it put a bit of a damper on the fun.

Grandad let me know we were still partners, though. About two weeks after I got back home, there was a box on the front porch after school. It was a baby alligator. A real baby alligator.

I had the coolest Grandad in the history of the world.


Anonymous said...

Loved this one. You were so lucky. I had a step-grandpa that hardly said a word. I always just thought he was my grandma's driver. She never learned to drive a car! My other Grandpa was an onery, old fart that I really don't remember making me feel all that special even if I was his first grand-daughter born on his own birthday. I would think that would make a kid special but it didn't to an ornery, old fart.
Anyway, dear friend...great writing. I enjoyed it. KC
PS It is 1:15 am....I drank some caffiene (is there a spell-check on this thing?) by mistake. I'm getting a peek into your world.

bioephemera said...

My goodness, I think you did! What a wonderful story - I have a big smile on my face now.

Wunx~ said...

Thank you ladies. I was one lucky little girl. I miss him a whole lot.

Hope you had a good trip to Idaho, LadyArtist.