It was a Sunday in February just like any other Sunday, only colder. On Sunday’s, I always went to Grandma’s. I would bring food and we would share lunch. I would keep her up to date on family “going on’s.” She, in turn, would tell me delightful stories.
I could seldom figure out which stories were true, which were embellished, and which were complete poppycock told by Grandma just to amuse herself, and maybe to entertain me, at the same time. I probably inherited that gene from her. On this particular Sunday it was cold; really cold. In fact; it was so cold that on the way over to her house, I had seen a dog frozen to a fire hydrant.
Grandma didn’t come to the front door when I knocked. Concerned, I went around the back and spied through the kitchen window. Grandma was in a chair wrapped in blankets, I could just see her nose peeking out. She was perched on a hard-backed rocker in front of the oven. The oven glowed red. I knocked on the door and she looked up before beckoning me inside from beneath her woolen covers. The back door was unlocked and when I entered I noticed that the house was really cold.
“Grandma, what’s going on? Are you OK?” There was a modicum of heat flowing into the kitchen from the open door on the oven.
“I’m fine TN, just cold.” she said, “The fire went out last night and I couldn’t get it relit this morning. Maybe you can help. There’s wood in the box in the living room.”
“Sure thing, Grandma. I’ll take care of it.”
Grandma had an old Franklin stove in the living room and I was able to get it stoked and lit in short order. I was curious about a number of brassy coloured BB’s that were lying on the floor in front of the stove. I couldn’t figure out where they came from, or what they were. The BB’s you could buy in town were normally copper and, what would Grandma be doing with BB’s anyway?
I could not explain these but I swept them up and put them on the table next to Grandma’s overstuffed chair. The room warmed up pretty quickly and I helped her move next to the fire so she could warm up too. While she thawed out I went back to the kitchen to heat our lunch. I had brought left over fried chicken and tomato bisque. We hollered back and forth about the weather and the scandalous behavior of all my cousins until I carried in a tray laden with soup and chicken. I helped Grandma unwrap and she continued telling more stories as we tucked into our food.
After she told me about my cousin Sandy and the iguanas Grandma noticed the BB’s on the table, next to her.
“What in heaven’s name are these, TN?” she asked.
“I don’t know Grandma. They were scattered on the floor here in front of the fireplace. I gathered them up and put them on your table.”
Grandma clucked her tongue and looked up at the shelf over the Franklin. The shelf where she kept her figurines, she had a menagerie of ceramic, glass and metal animals, that she had collected in her travels over the years, housed on that shelf.
“My oh my, it really did get cold in here last night. I’m sorry boys.” It was almost as if she was apologizing to her collection.
“What is it Grandma? What are those brass balls? Who are you apologizing to?”
“Them.” she pointed up to the lower shelf where she kept her “No evil” monkeys. She had gotten them on a trip to China with Grandpa before the war. They were cheaply cast brass souvenir monkeys, and I had seen them on that shelf my entire life. One kept his hands clasped over his eyes, one with his hands over his ears, and the other was covering his mouth. They were different now though. All three of them had their hands in their laps and looks of anguish on their faces.
“Oh my God,” I said as I realized what the small brassy balls that I had scooped off the floor were. “Do you think they can be re-attached?”
It’s almost Sunday! There’ll be fresh prompts here on Sunday.