Thursday, May 18, 2006

Inner Grandma

I consider myself very lucky. I have known all 4 of my grandparents and remember 2 of my great-grandparents. It's a pretty amazing thing. And my grandparents were/are all grandpa barber, very very cool guy. Grandma Barber - she's the best! My grandpa eagan...also, very very cool. My grandma Eagan - she was awesome. She just had this way about her. Leah & I the other night, while taking down wallpaper in my living room, ended up talking about Grandma Eagan and how we should all try to embrace our "inner grandma". To say it bluntly - she was a badass. She, while it was still quite a bit taboo, bought a house on her own...she worked and worked hard. She didn't do these things for "the cause"....she did them because she wanted's how she was. She wanted to own a house ... so she did ... period. That's just how it was. She also had a special gift. A gift like no other....a very special, very effective way of punishing you. She would not immediately contact your parents.....for that matter, she wouldn't tell them at all...ever. She was also the most loving and caring woman. I have two stories to share that illustrate these two characteristics of my grandma.
The first story stems from a very sad time ... It was when she was very, very sick with cancer and my cousin lived with my grandparents. She needed and very much deserved a break. My dad asked me to stay with them for a day and just keep them company. So at some point during the day my grandmother got out of bed and asked me to walk her to my grandfather's room next door. I walked over with her and my grandfather saw us coming in and he looked at my grandmother, smiled lovingly and patted the bed next to him. She sat down alongside of him and took his hand in hers. And they looked at each other for a moment and then leaned towards each other and kissed, told each other they loved each other and smiled. They sat there like that for a few minutes and then my grandmother needed to go back and lay down. So I took her back to the room and smiled and cried. It was the sweetest most wonderful thing I've ever seen and have never, ever forgotten that moment and never will.
The other story is my other favorite. When I was 13 and a friend of mine were staying the weekend at their cottage at Crystal Beach. I had smoked and had a little beer here and there...nothing spectacular. So my friend and I sneak some beers and sit out on the front porch and smoked butts & drink beers. We end up a bit drunk, not that it took much at that point. So....2am later, my grandma sticks her head out the door and quietly tells us that it's time to turn in for the night and goes back to bed. So we go in the house and crawl onto the couches and start falling asleep. Until I hear "SPLAT" and look over and see sara has thrown up on herself in her sleeping bag. We go clean her up as much as we can in our state and go to sleep. The next grandmother wakes us up and gives us $10 to WALK to the tim hortons to get donuts & a newspaper. WALK?!?!? Easily a 15 - 20 minute walk each way...a couple of hours of sleep, hungover....smelling like sara's puke...and it was HOT. I actually don't think that they had any papers at tim hortons so we had to go even further to get one. We eventually find our way back to the cottage only to find sara's sleeping bag laid out in the middle of the courtyard with a bucket of hot soapy water & 2 sponges. Yes, you guessed it, to clean up the sleeping bag, in front of EVERYONE. We couldn't go to the beach until we'd cleaned it all up. awesome. Want to know how long it was until I got drunk again? YEARS.........worked like a charm!!
To my knowledge, my parents were never informed of this episode and my grandma didn't love me any less for the debacle. It was subtle....but i got it, lesson learned. We went about life and it was never brought up again. She took it with her when she passed away almost 10 years ago. In my quest to embrace my inner Grandma, I am putting this out there for all to see....even my parents. Yes, I got drunk for the first time at 13...and yes, grandma never uttered a word to anyone. Grandma's actions & punishment had the desired impact though and I have never forgotten that - and neither has sara.
So with that....I am now on a quest.....I am after all named after my grandmother. So here's to you Regina Marie Eagan.....I'll do my best and I love you.


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