It was Sunday morning when I heard some of my favorite words, “Grandma, I’m here!” This statement is usually accompanied by huge grins of the faces of the speakers and the listener.
Thirty years ago the words were, “Mom, I’m home” Those words are still favorites.
This time it was the 6- and 8-year-old grandsons.
Their first concern was hunger. Seems they didn’t have time for breakfast. I offered cereal, but they informed me they weren’t allowed to have cereal on Sunday. However, they could have toast with peanut butter or jelly or both.
I didn’t bother to check with their mom. I just fix them what they want because Grandmas can do that.
While they ate, they wanted to talk about the huge nest of grubs found in one of the branches when their uncles were splitting logs from my old maple tree. “Were they really as big as Grandpa’s thumb?” one asked.
I tried to change the subject but didn’t get very far. They wanted to know about the huge nest of big old black ants in one of the logs.
That reminded me of an evening two years ago when the same two had stopped by with their sisters and their mom. The younger had missed his nap and was really whiny.
He couldn’t reach the candy counter yet but his brother could. The brother was sucking contentedly on a Tootsie Pop. The younger one was crying because he didn’t have one.
Mom told big sister to get him one. She walked out and right back in to whisper something in her mother’s ear. Her mom looked at me and said, “She says the Tootsie Pop box is full of ants.” I ran to the kitchen to get rid of the box. She ran to the older boy to get the Tootsie Pop.
I was more successful than she was except for one little detail. The younger boy was begging me for one of the suckers. I slammed an ant-free one down on the sink and told him his mom had to hand it to him. Then I ran out the door with the box and the pesticide.
When I returned, the older boy was really annoyed, and my daughter was shaking her head in disbelief. “Boys are so different from girls,” she said.
She had ordered her son to give her the Tootsie Pop he had in his mouth. He asked why. She said, “The box had ants in it.” He pulled his sucker out of his mouth, looked it over and announced, “None on this one!” and popped it back in his mouth.
“My girls would have been freaking out if they thought any bug had even come close to them, let alone on something they were eating,” she concluded as the youngest boy was still bewailing the fact he never got his sucker and the older one was complaining because he didn’t get to finish his.
The ant’s nest in the old maple tree explained why we had been fighting ant invasions for the last couple years. It also cut my mourning time for the loss of my maple tree.
We had to cut another tree down for our remodeling project, but I had never really bonded with that one. It was in full view of the streets out front.
One day a friend stopped by to visit. As we were chatting in the house, the three youngest boys took on a project of their own. They were annoyed with their little sister because she followed them wherever they went. So they devised a plan. They told her she was an Indian and they were cowboys. They had captured her and had tied her to that tree. The oldest boy of the three had just earned his badge for tying knots from the Cub Scouts. He did a great job. They ran off to play and left her bound to the tree.
We found out about it when a police officer knocked on our door. When I answered, he asked if I knew there was a child tied to a tree in my yard. Seems some Good Samaritan had seen her and gone to the police department to report our child abuse. I soothed our little girl, and when I caught up with her brothers I made sure they never did that again.
That was more than 30 years ago, but I never did like that tree very much after that.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate July 2, 2003.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.