Pages

9.18.2010

SHE LAUGHED TILL SHE CRIED

We had a 4 door green Buick Lasabre circa 1970ish growing up.  It was the era of cars where the front seat was one long bench, allowing 3 people to sit comfortably.  There were deep wheel wells in the back seat large enough for a small child to lay it.  The best part of the car though, was the back window.  It was huge - like a big picture window.  The ledge underneath that window was ginormous.  Before there were seat belt laws, there was immense freedom to roam inside the car while it was moving.  And I did.  My favorite place to be was laid out in the back window ledge.  I fit there easily being the scrawny kid I was.  I loved that car.  I also loved my maternal grandmother, Sarah.  She always had colored marshmallows, Kix cereal, 7-Up out of the glass bottle (nothing better), apples cut in wedges with the skin taken off (my request always and she obliged me), homemade pudding with a film of skin on top, buttery popcorn served in a bowl comparable to the size of person you were, and usually frosted sugar cookies.  I was blessed to grow up right across the road from her.  She had polio as a kid so walking was difficult - sitting was just easier.  There was some spread that happened when she sat, you know some gush to her body.  I loved her desperately in this very powerful strong quiet way.  Always when I took a nap at her house grandma would let me lay on her bed.  She would lay down beside me and rub my back with her very rough hands until I fell asleep.  If she thought I was asleep I would wiggle a bit so that she wouldn't stop rubbing my back.  Magically when I woke up she was never there but out in the kitchen with a snack waiting on me.  She was indeed a gentle soul but loved to laugh.  In fact, she would get to laughing so hard that tears would stream down both cheeks.  When that occurred all you could do was laugh at grandma laughing.  One evening as a kid my grandparents went out to eat with my family of 5.  All seven of us piled into our green Buick Lasabre with the picture window in the back.  Down the road we went with the ignorant bliss of a world with no seat belts.  I assumed my favorite position in an overcrowded car - the back window ledge.  I crawled up over grandma, my one sister and my mom who made up the passengers in the back.  Grandpa, my other sister and dad occupied and manned the front seat.  Laying spread out in the back window ledge you had to use your balancing skills and core muscles when the car slowed, turned or stopped as there was nothing to hold onto.  I could maneuver expertly from years of practice.  Perched there I had a great view of behind and ahead, while expertly hearing both front and back conversations clearly.  To this day I'm not sure what happened that caused my father to abruptly slam on the brakes, but I do know what ensued when he did.  Without any warning of the stop I had no time to shift my body weight (like that would have helped, I think I weighed 50 pounds soaking wet).  In a split second I was catapulted over the top of my grandma who sat in the middle position in the back seat.  Literally I rolled over her head and landed squarely in one motion directly on her lap.  No doubt having startled grandma by my unique approach to laying across her lap she began to laugh.  She tried to say something in the midst of her laughter - something about me flying out of the window - but no one could distinguish the words.  She continued to laugh with abandonment until we all joined in.  I looked up from her lap as tears poured down her face.  She continue to laugh uncontrollably, delightful over the turn of events that must have tickled her clear to her soul.  I loved her even more laying there laughing.  It took her a long while to get it all out of her - wiping her eyes and starting back up several times before the laughter had done its magic.  There are pictures of grandma Sarah with laughter filling her face, clutching a Kleenex while crying uncontrollably amidst her laughter.  Maybe that is where I get my deep love of laughing, even tears on occasion.   I'm quite sure that's where I first learned to connect love to laughter.  They are most definitely inseparable for me.

1 comment:

  1. I laughed all over again at that green Buick moment and then I cried because I miss Grandma so.

    ReplyDelete