Thursday, July 24, 2014

"There's a Hurricane a Comin'"

I LOVE the Golden Girls, especially Sophia, maybe because, in many ways, she reminds me of my Mawmaw.  For example, when there was even the possibility of  trouble, like bad weather, both Sophia and Mawmaw went into panic mode.  In this clip, Sophia is frantically preparing for a hurricane before there is any sign of one because her friend's ankles have swollen, which they apparently only did when there was a hurricane "a comin'.".  Like Sophia, my Mawmaw did not play around when it came to bad weather.  God knows she saw her share of it.  In fact, she lived through one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history, Hurricane Audrey.  More than 600 people lost their lives in that storm.  Perhaps that is why Mawmaw was so terrified of bad weather.

Unfortunately, Mawmaw's fear of severe weather was not just limited to hurricanes.  If there was a grey cloud in the sky, we could not talk on the phone, go near a window or get into the bathtub.  If the clouds got too dark, she would lock up the house and drag me to a neighbor's house until the skies cleared.  I wasn't afraid of bad weather, but I HATED it because I did not like to go to the neighbors' houses for hours.  Inevitably, I had to sit and count my fingers because they never turned on the television and  they did not have any toys to play with.  Kids today have no idea how good they have it; I would have killed for a smartphone, an IPad, or hell, even a portable CD player.  I had dolls and other little toys at Mawmaw's, but I never had a chance to grab anything before she grabbed my little hand and practically dragged me down the street before, God forbid, a raindrop might fall before we made it out of the house alive.    

Most of the time, we had to go to a particular neighbor's house who, although she was a good friend to my grandmother, drove me absolutely nuts.  Unlike my grandmother, she was slovenly and unpleasant.  She scared me when I was little and just plain got on my nerves as I grew older. For example, she made these loud, unladylike snorting sounds to clear her throat that scared the hell out of me. She also never even acknowledged m presence.  My grandmother's other friends were sweet to me, but she just acted like I wasn't there. Lastly, as trivial as it may sound now, it was disturbing to me as a 5 year old that she had a heavier mustache than my father and hairy toes that she never bothered to cover up with shoes.   I think she still lives in that same house.  I can only hope that the hair on her toes and upper lip has thinned with age.

After what seemed like hours, Mawmaw would finally decide that it was safe enough for the two of us to return to her house.  If I was lucky, it was just in time to watch Gilligan's Island, ironic if you think about how they ended up on the stupid island:  A STORM!

Now that my kids are grown, I am alone a lot, especially at night since my husband works evenings.  While I don't go to anyone else's house when the weather gets bad, I must admit that bad weather does make me nervous.  In fact, if it gets too bad, I call my daughter and ask her to come over with my granddaughter since my house is bigger and more stable. I worry about THEM being alone if the weather gets too bad.  I also always keep plenty of candles because I don't like being in the dark.  Wow...I guess I'm more like Mawmaw than I thought.   Although I don't have any friends with hairy toes, I have to admit that the older I get the more I cringe when I hear thunder and when the lights flicker due to bad weather.

At a family funeral a few weeks ago, my mother told her cousin that the only person more like her moma (my Mawmaw) than her moma was me. After all, I spent more time with her than with anyone else when I was a child.  I guess it is only logical that some of her values as well as some of her fears have become a part of who I am today.

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