That Time My Gran Terrified An Olympian

My Gran can be pretty scary when she wants to be. Of course she’ll hide behind that fascade of pie making, dress-fitting, grandmotherly goodness but underneath, my Gran is as tough as nails. And when she wants to, she’ll remind you of this fact.

Once at Thanksgiving, she commented that I was looking slim. I brushed the compliment off saying “Oh it’s just because I haven’t put on my winter fat yet”. My Gran looked at me sternly and said with a thin lipped voice “You’re not going to do that again this year”. That winter, and only that winter, I didn’t put on weight; each time I met a donut I liked, I thought of my Gran’s expression and left it on the plate.

I wasn’t the first person she scared, nor I imagine, will I be the last but once upon a time, when the strap was still an approved method for teaching, my grandmother terrified the bejesus out of an Olympian.

It was a Canadian winter in the 1960s, which is to say that the drifts were up to your nipples and it was still snowing. This was a particularly bad night for weather, but in spite of that, the twin boys’ parents had gone out, leaving them at home with a babysitter- my mother.

My mother can be as flustered as my Gran is fearsome. And on this howling blizzard of a night, these two boys were taking advantage of that, running wild around the house, whooping, hollering, causing all sorts of mischief. Finally, my mother couldn’t take it anymore, she called my Gran, “Mom please come help, they won’t listen.”

As frightening as my Gran can be, she is always there for her family, so on went her sweater, her coat, her hat, her mitts, her boots, all this just to cross the street. Once she arrived, my Gran was at a loss, along with being an accomplished seamstress and cook, my grandmother keeps her home spotless. Not wanting to drag snow into her neighbour’s house and create puddles, my Gran opened the front door which my mother had left unlocked and jumped out of her boots into the house.

Seeing this tall, angry woman who had just walked across the street barefoot when it was thirty degrees below zero Celsius, the  boys stopped in their tracks. “Both of you, go to bed” my Gran said sharply. Supposedly they never misbehaved again out of fear that the woman who doesn’t need shoes in the snow would return.

My grandmother never laid claim to inspiring the one twin to shape up his act and begin rowing his way to the Olympics but she’s a humble woman. I’m just glad she never told me to do such a thing, otherwise I might have found myself backspringing my way across sweaty gym mats rather than in front of a computer telling my stories.

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March Sweat Showers Bring April Flowers

I smell like a den of raccoons, I’m also sopping wet. In the grand scheme of life, this isn’t an unsolvable problem. It is however affecting my popularity with family members. This sort of issue has happened before, well, ish.

You see it’s a packing problem. I suck at packing. If there was a packing Olympics I would be the lonely, small country of Estonia. This miniature country tries really hard and packs with all of its might but in the end, it’s really only good for being the spot that future Polish grooms fly to for wild bachelor parties.  No one ever hears about Estonia going to the packing Olympics. Or any kind of Olympics. That’s me. I’m terrible at packing. Although that wasn’t a very good analogy because I’m not good at throwing wild, naked parties either.

Once for a nine day long trip, I packed two pairs of underwear, twelve shirts and no pants. This would have been fine if I was headed to a partial nudist camp for a week or maybe to one of those wild, naked parties I never throw, but as it was my grandparents were a little alarmed by my lack of clothing. My grandfather ordered me out of the house and to the nearest Walmart on the third day to purchase extra items to wear.

I’m visiting my grandparents again and to be honest I’ve done a bit better this go round; I packed twenty-six pairs of underwear, three shirts and one pair of neon tights for my overnight stay. Tragically I’ve forgotten antiperspirant. For normal people this wouldn’t be an issue but for me whose underarms did a convincing impression of Niagara Falls from the ages of fourteen to twenty-two, this is a problem.

My armpits put on a fantastic light show. (Photo Credit : globeholidays.net)

My armpits put on a fantastic light show. (Photo Credit : globeholidays.net)

Having exited puberty, although one could no longer shower in my sweat, I still produce a lot of it. Hence my grandmother and I are once more being sent forth to the local Walmart in the interest of not wringing out my shirts every couple of hours.

*Also don’t be upset or feel unworldly if you haven’t heard of Estonia. The only reason I have heard of Estonia is because I went on a cruise with my grandmother and three thousand other old people.

When my grandmother was booking the trip, the travel agents asked “Do you want to stop in Estonia?” to which my grandmother replied “Pardon me?”, as she had never heard of the country. The agents took this as a “yes” because “pardon me” is a great deal better than “Where the heck is that?” which is the standard response to that question. Hence my grandmother and I stopped there, and learned all about their Polish bachelor party industry.

Also the grooms might not be from Poland, I wasn’t listening very well to the tour Estonian tour guide because I was too busy trying to figure out where I was.