A few years ago, I was visiting with a friend at his mother's house. His mother lived with his grandmother, and the two of them were moving in a few months. Inadvertently, they had the cable turned off too soon. So here they were, two months or more from their move date without any TV.
"Do you have an antenna for the TV?" I asked. "I remember when I was the remote control and the antenna, so I know you do, too. If we can find the antenna, you can at least watch the local news and stuff."
"I think we do," said his mother as she looked on the TV stand. Sure enough, there it was. It was a rather large TV, and the antenna stretched out several feet. "Can you help us plug it in?"
The TV had a coaxial connection, but the antenna still had the two wires coming off of it. We needed a small adapter. I was sure it had come with the TV; they all do these days.
"You are going to need a little adapter that looks like this." I proceeded to describe the piece and even drew a little picture. "It's probably in one of your crap drawers. You know, the one that you throw things in just in case you might need them one day."
My friend rushed into the attic to find a box which might contain the needed item. There was much stumbling and crashing.
His mother began to rummage through several kitchen drawers looking for
it. She emitted infrequent shrieks of panic when she thought she was close.
His grandmother and I went out to the garage, she to work on the laundry, I to look through a few old , dusty cabinets in search of the adapter.
Being young and somewhat rash, I muttered to what I thought was myself about myself and my friend and his mom, "What a couple of assholes."
Nearly immediately his grandmother, with a bemused smirk, said much louder than was necessary, "I am not an asshole."
A box hit the ceiling joists and crashed into the sheetrock. A drawer rattled shut quickly. Something metal clanged to the floor. Steps heaved noisily from someone rushing out of the attic.
I stood in the garage agape, staring at my friends grandmother who looked as though she were about to giggle.
"Did you just call my grandmother an asshole?" he blurted.
"Did you call my mother an asshole?" she screamed.
"I was calling you...I mean, I didn't say...I was talking about you and... I didn't mean for anyone...It was just that...umm...You and your...I didn't mean your grandmother...Shit." I replied.
His grandmother's smile got larger and larger as I struggled to clarify my comments. It was clear that I had vocalized something that perhaps I should not have. I apologized profusely and for a long time.
We eventually found the adapter and all was well, sort of.
And that was the end of it, I thought.
For many years, whenever I would see his grandmother, whether Easter or Mardi Gras or Christmas, before leaving I would go to give her a hug and a little kiss. And inevitably, she would whisper to just me, with a smile, "Take care of yourself. Asshole."
Just this week, I learned that she died. I am sad for my friends who are her amazing grandsons and for their mother. I know that I will miss her tremendously. I can only imagine how much they will miss her. My condolences go out to all of her family in their time of loss.
May you rest in peace.
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