"KNOCK ON WOOD"
A WORK OF NON-FICTION BY LAURA DEL
Today is the one-year anniversary of my grandmother’s death…
Am I sad?
No. Not really.
Because she wouldn’t want me to be.
Don’t get me wrong, in life, I wasn’t the best for listening to her… mostly because she nagged sometimes… but with stuff like this, she was always right. I would often tell her that, even though she’d complain very loudly that no one ever listened to her. “You’ll miss my voice when I’m gone,” she’d say.
Well, that’s the fucking truth.
On this day every year, I’ve decided to do something. I’ve decided to tell you a story about Philomena Gledhill. Not a sad one… oh, no! But a happy one.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Grams wasn’t known for her joke telling, but she could pull your leg with the best of them. She found satire funny and vulgarity stupid, but tell her that you’d nail one of her daughters to a cross for being a martyr, and she’d laugh until she cried. Ole’ Philly knew how to be sarcastic, and sometimes, a little naughty (as she’d call it). One summer we went to Canada… actually, we went a lot of times to Canada, but I digress… we’d always get one room for four people. It was cheaper that way. Besides, it really didn’t matter because me and my bro-ham were small enough that we either slept on the floor or slept in the same bed as my grandmother. No one slept in the same bed as my aunt. That woman would kick you off in your sleep, and let’s not even mention the Godforsaken snoring… buzzsaw doesn’t even begin to describe it. Grams, on the other hand, was a very light sleeper. She was always up with the roosters and out with the dawn. If that makes sense. But this isn’t about my aunts’ snoring or how my grandmother never actually got more than four hours of sleep a night. This is about the time my grams actually pulled one of the greatest pranks I’d ever seen.
Up until that point, I’d never known Grams had a sense of humor. I knew she laughed, but I didn’t know she could actually be funny… I was ten, okay?
So we were in one of the small hotel rooms on our way to Niagara Falls when this little gem happened…
My aunt was being particularly salty to Grams the day before. After all, this is the same aunt that when we went to Kentucky the one year, she swore we were starving her on purpose because no one had to pee so she couldn’t stop and get herself a snack. Sometimes… just so you know, I’m rolling my eyes. Grams would approve. Needless to say, the two of them never really got on too well. I mean, they had their moments of calm, but as my grandmother used to point out, “When I say black, Joanne says white.”
Anyway, after this particular level of saltiness that came from her own daughter, I think the woman devised a plan. She always said she had a devious mind and this was the first time I’d seen it in action. The day after their little spat, my aunt was half dressed, when there was a knock on the door. Well, naturally Joanne beings to panic.
“Don’t open the door, Ma!” she shouts at the top of her lungs. “I’m not dressed!”
The knock came again.
“All right,” she screamed frantically, “let me get my pants on! Let me get my pants on! Laura,” Joanne pointed at me, “go tell them to wait. I’m not ready!”
As I rush to the door, I see that my grandmother is standing against the wall… LAUGHING. HER. ASS. OFF.
“What’s so funny?” I whispered, not wanting Aunt Jo to hear.
She couldn’t breathe, tears were streaming down her face, and I was concerned for her sanity. “It was me,” she said in the smallest voice I’d ever heard her use.
My mouth fell open and the two off us began to chortle until neither one of us could put two sentences together. Aunt Jo ran to the door. Seeing that we were laughing, she promptly asked us what was so damn funny, to which my grandmother filled her in.
“You’re not funny, Ma!”
“I’m hilarious,” she retorted while Joanne stomped back into the room to plop down on the bed.
What I remember next, is my grandmother winking at me, and going into the bathroom to get herself ready for the day.
From then on, I knew that Grams couldn’t only laugh, but she was one of the original pranksters. The woman should’ve had her own YouTube channel… she was just that good.
That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.
Until next year, Grams.
Love and miss you,