What she would do is plan a Saturday or Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, meet at a buffet, return to her house, rip open presents, and then send us all home.
In those days, she was still coherent, and she went to a lot of trouble to make up for the poverty of the early years.
All of that is over now.
Last week, we made plans to visit Grannie and Buck this Sunday evening at 5. I was to bring flowers, and Bro was to bring biscuits from Bojangle's.
I stopped at Food Lion for flowers.
You should know this one well by now.
On the way in, I found some lucky money.
I do that a lot, and I retain the lucky money in a jar at home. Usually, I have a pint of luck gathered each six months, and I cash it in at the Coin Star in the Food Lion.
I know I should retain the luck, but the little bit of money comes in handy.
They had poinsettias on sale, two for ten bucks.
I got two, along with another two bags of navel oranges, also on a twofer sale.
I stashed the flowers in the backseat.
Yes, one was red, and the other was pink.
The drive to Johnston County to meet Bro at the Food Lion where he works was uneventful.
We would probably starved were it not for Food Lion. Even Grannie and Buck shop there.
While I waited for Samo, Bro drove over to Bojangle's for the biscuits. I asked that he also get some tater tots, and he did.
That's Boj's way off in the distance, past the Taco Bell. Yeah, it's all too little to see.
Buck was standing in the carport when we arrived, and he proceded to regale us with the story of planting winter fescue in the field across the road. The planter was 32 feet wide.
Grannie stepped out, surveyed the situation, figured out who we were on her own, and asked whose birthday it was. She was perplexed when I told her it was Christmas.
We went in the house, and I put glasses of water on the table. Buck was continuing with the fescue story.
We pass out the biscuits and the tater tots. Buck says the blessing as we all hold hands. He closes the blessing in the name of Jesus. This is one of those few occassions where that closing doesn't bother me all that much, though I will tell you that I generally feel more like an explorer for National Geographic than I do a son visiting his parents.
I would have some pics from Mama's house, but they don't turn on many lights. I suppose they like the romantic lighting.
Mama again asks whose birthday it is, and I remind her that it's Christmas. This time she sings a rendition of "Merry Christmas to you," which soon morphs into "We're all in our places with bright shining faces." I tell her that she needs to teach me that song, and she agrees to do so.
Buck repeats the story of the winter fescue with additional embellishment. It is easy to tell that he is starved for sane company. He's with Mama 24/7 except when she's getting her hair done. The sad thing is that he cannot leave her unattended except to maybe cut the grass.
Buck hands Grannie the envelopes with cards that might contain some form of cash. Samo and Bro take theirs. She calls for Josh, and I reach over, only to have her take on a perplexed look. She thought I must be Josh.
I explain, and she settles down, while Buck continues with the fescue story.
45 minutes after arriving, it's time to go. Bro needs to sleep before going to the night shift at his second job. Mama asks Buck for the presents. Twice. He reminds her that she just passed them out. She sort of remembers.
Hugs. Hugs. Goodbye kisses. Bro is gone. I follow.
Here's my card.
This is much different from past years. While it's not secular, it's decidely, if relatively, not very religious. Usually, there's something like a manger scene or something.
Not that this worrys me all that much. I see it as just evidence that things continue to change.
Inside, I find a telling sign, and it's not in the denomination of the bill, which I'll put on my laundry card to see me through the next month or so.
Buck had to sign for Grannie, and he did it in such a way that we might not notice.