For The Real LJ Idol: “I Can’t Believe I Did That!”
I can’t believe I . . . actually allowed my seventy-something mother to have her Stitch-N-B*tch Coffeeklatsch afternoon over here at my house the other day.
Well, yes, I can: she lives with us, and normally this group meets every week or so, but they haven’t met for almost a month because one or the other of them has been sick or out of town. Anyhow, I thought, it’ll make ’em happy, and they’re nice, harmless little old ladies . . . what’s the worst that could happen?
(Never ASK that. The Universe hears. It obliges by showing you.)
No one would expect a group of 70-ish-year-old ladies to bring CHILDREN to the Stitch-n-B*tch coffeecake party. Yet Mama’s little group of weirdos pride themselves on being nonconformists.
Pinky brought her granddaughter. An adorable tot of around three or four. Long blonde hair with ribbons in it, big round blue eyes, enchanting smile. And Of the Devil. Her plan, starting when she entered my house, was to get her grubby paws on my ceramic unicorn collection and tenderly shatter each one in turn, swallowing the horns (that gives her more Unicorn Power.) I distracted her with a stuffed Easter bunny out of my centerpiece and turned the kitchen TV to cartoons as I got the “ladies” settled, but knew I was in for a couple of hours of watchful watching.
Somebody’d brought a cake with pink frosting. Mama had made one of her inimitable Lemon Pound Bundt cakes. Cookies with unidentified lumps (which turned out to be candies) were arrayed on plates. I pulled some frozen Thin Mints out of the freezer and let ’em thaw. With coffee and diet cola, that made a feast for those with teeth (most of these ladies have at least SOME teeth. *GRIN*) I chewed grimly on a MediFast Chocolate Mint Meal Bar as they clinked away with forks on my good dessert plates (Mama got them out while I wasn’t looking.)
Pinky had brought a Sudoku magazine and the latest TV Guide collection of crossword puzzles. She pulled a crossword out of her purse and announced that she was needing help. (These magazines don’t have the solutions in the backs; they’re in NEXT month’s issue, which is a sneaky clever crafty solution for the publisher, I think.) As everyone dug into cake and coffee, she held up the page. “This clue is crazy. ‘In ancient Greece, she turned into a spider.’ Seven letters.”
“What the hell kind of damn clue is that?” asked the ever-saintly Blinky. “Got any letters yet?”
“The Greek goddess Athene turned the mortal Arachne into a spider as punishment for weaving more beautifully than the gods,” I said, ever the show-off know-it-all.
“Spell that.” She counted it off against her boxes, then filled it in. “Fits.”
“Smartypants,” mumbled Blinky, winking at me and pulling out her ever-present knitting. It looked as if she were halfway through a garden gnome–a soft one out of multicolored yarn, not a sturdy outdoor one out of concrete, although if anyone could do the latter, it would be Blinky. The gnome’s hat waved at me as she got her needles in position.
“That gives me several other words, in fact. Thanks.” Pinky scribbled across and down, then looked up. “I always wondered–they’re constantly using Greek gods in these damn puzzles. Were all those Greek gods real?”
“Hell yes,” said Stinky, sneering, in a don’t you know-nothing voice. “They exist all right. Ever’ last one of them. ‘Course what they are is, they’re fallen angels. Demons. Going to Hell if you have anything to do with them,” she said, as if that settled it.
“Really?” Blinky dropped a stitch.
“Certainly,” agreed Nod, nodding. “The Romans believed in them after the Greeks. Think how many pagans that was.”
What *that* had to do with it . . . unless Noddy was an existentialist or believed that the more people who worshiped an entity, the more power that gave the entity . . . made it more real, like a Velveteen Rabbit or the American Idol contestant who gets the most votes . . . but she doesn’t think in that kind of depth. Unless she hides it exceedingly well.
I checked on the Little Monster, who was engrossed in trying to pull out the stuffed bunny’s facial features. I retrieved it before the poor thing needed Lasik or an implant and substituted a set of soft blocks that I keep in the wet bar for such emergencies. She started stacking them as tall as she could, then gleefully kicking them over and shrieking with laughter. The cartoons were still playing something that she glanced over at regularly, so I figured we were OK. I expected to hear something about a cookie soon, but so far so good. She occasionally eyed the dog, but he was safely ensconced in Mama’s lap.
Conversation turned to Stinky’s ex-son-in-law, who had deserted her daughter. “High and dry,” she said. “Bast*rd left her and those kids high and dry. Already has some other woman who’s let him move in on her. Probably not paying her a cent either, but he tells Che-Che he’s broke.” She stated her opinion of his parentage and character in a few succinct cusswords. Everyone made noises of commiseration.
This gave Stinky a second wind. “I told her not to marry that jack*ss. His fingernails always have little crescents of sh*t underneath them, and he never washes his hair. I can’t believe any woman would have anything to do with him, unless she was some kind of skank.”
“Unless she were a skank,” corrected Pinky, ever the proper grammarian.
“Is she?” asked Blinky, reaching for another slice of pound cake. “Or are she?”
“What’s a skank?” piped up Sweetness, a gleam in her eye that said “Mama will hear all about this as soon as I get home.” “Is it like a skunk?”
“Yes,” said Blinky, “except the colors are reversed–the stripe is yellow. And the whiskers go the wrong way.”
They all laughed uncontrollably, except for the kid.
“Can I see one?” She ran over to my bookshelf and started pulling encyclopedias down. I hurried over to distract her with more cartoons, but the program she’d been interested in was over. Nothing was on but “Two Stupid Dogs,” which she said she hated. “I want a skank!” She stomped her little pink sandals on my pathetic white-ish carpeting. “I want to see a skank!”
“You’ll be going home to your mother later this afternoon, dear,” said her grandmother, implying that this would be a perfect venue for skank-viewing. She reached into her purse and produced one of those handheld games. The tot landed on it, tore it out of her granny’s claw, and began pounding buttons. The device sang, whistled, and flashed lights at her soothingly. They bonded as the grown-up talk turned to Dubya and the Television and Film Annual Dinner thingie that I blogged about yesterday.
Blinky had been impressed. “I never heared that man say nothin’ funny before–I mean, except where he says something funny without meanin’ to. Like when he says Noo-Ku-Lur wrong.”
“He talked about that Nancy Pelosi and then implied his mama was cranky. I bet Bar-bar was none too pleased with that.”
“But Big George probably laughed.”
They looked at Nod, who had apparently dozed off momentarily. Her eyes flew open, seemingly feeling the weight of all their gazes, and she nodded. “Well, that was funny.” She dug in her purse for her pink pills, and I slipped her a can of Jolt Cola.
“After that, though. Them two idiots and the skits they did –and the dance . . . that was somethin’,” said Blinky, neglecting to specify exactly WHAT kind of something.
“I didn’t get it,” said Stinky.
“Get what?” Sweetness wanted to know, on the alert for any possible gifts.
“Nothing, dear,” said Nod absently. “Play your game.”
Seemingly noticing the goodie table for the first time, the child climbed on my mother’s lap. (My dog scurried to safety under the sofa.) “I want a cookie,” she said sweetly.
“We’ll have to ask Nana, dear,” said my mother the diplomat.
“I’m afraid not, baby. You know you’re allergic to wheat and you can’t have sugar.” Nana Pinky dug in her purse and produced a squashed box of yellow raisins. The child eyed them suspiciously, but accepted the box when it became apparent that no one was going to offer her any cake. Assuming from this example that fruit sugar was exempt, I found a juice box in the fridge. The kid enjoyed playing with the straw. Those grape juice stains are hell to get out of the carpet.
They finally got around to dealing some cards and playing what may have been five-handed canasta. Supposedly they don’t play for money, but I could swear I saw greenbacks passed from hand to hand between deals. The Child had settled in front of the TV again and was sneaking raisins to my dog, who accepted them just to be nice and then they fell out of his mouth unchewed. He had accumulated quite a sticky stack. I’m lucky he is such a picky eater. I snatched him up and cleaned the floor just in time for the grand finale of the last hand of cards.
“Gotcha!” yelled Blinky, gloating over a stack of cards. “I told you, whoever gets the red threes wins.” She leaped up and rushed out to jump on her Harley, roaring away.
“See you next time,” said Pinky, collecting her mini-me and following Stinky and Nod out the front door.
“At your house?” I called hopefully after her, but she was already climbing behind the wheel of her 1967 Impala. The land yacht backed unsteadily down the street and headed off on a side path, carrying the crowd away.
I turned to Mama. “Find out which one is going to host it next time. I’m going to borrow some children and come with you!”
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