Firing from the Lip

A collection of thoughts, stories, tall tales, half truths and opinions from the Heartland of America.

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Location: Missouri, United States

An irreverent but loving grandfather of five and father of three, I enjoy writing of family, love, life, and the never ending fascination of it all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

'Get Off My Porch!'

My grandfather Clarence died several years before I was born. My grandmother, Della Belle Starr Marler, loved and missed him until the end of her days. Grandma was a little old short thing, she might have been five feet tall, but not by much.
She lived next door to us. Daddy had built our house right next to grandma’s so he could ‘keep an eye on her.’ I think he did it because she made good biscuits, and Pop sure did love his biscuits. I can remember laughing as a child, seeing my father sticking his head out the door of his shop and looking toward Granny’s house because he smelled her cooking, and was getting awful hungry.
I thought Granny was a nice looking lady, and I asked her once, ‘Grandma, why didn’t you ever get married again?’ She looked at me, dusted off her apron, sat down at her table and said, ‘come here son, sit by me.’ I did, and granny told me about my grandfather who she called, ‘my Clarence.’ ‘The Lord gave me my Clarence, and we were happy for a long time, Donnie. He was the best man I’ve ever known. He was kind, gentle, and loving, and I just know that someday I’ll be with him again. God gave me the perfect man, son. Why would I want anyone else?’ Well now, I thought that was sweet!
There was an older gentleman here in town that took a decided interest in granny. He was an insurance man, and he found cause to stop in now and then, to try to sell Pop a policy, and eyeball granny.
This wasn’t lost on my father. He would cock his eyebrow, and look at that old boy like ‘what are you thinking?’ He teased granny about her ‘boyfriend’. Man, she didn’t think that was funny at all!
Before long granny began receiving flowers and whatnot, left on her porch with little notes, from this old insurance man. Well now, my daddy thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He’d tease that old woman until she was ready to take him out behind the woodshed. ‘You better hush Bill. I don’t like that old fart sending me flowers and such and you know it!’ ‘Well Momma, you must be doing something to let him know you’re interested?’ Pop said, with his devilish little grin, ‘He sure does like you, Momma.’ ‘I’m warning you boy, you hush, or you’ve ate your last biscuit at my table.’ My mean old daddy would just cackle.
Not long after that, a few days maybe, the truck from Greene’s Florist pulled up and granny got an awfully nice bouquet of flowers. She didn’t look all that happy to me, to get them. My Pop giggled, and it was funny to see that big old body, giggling and shaking, while granny stared at him. Me? Well, I was the mercenary sort, looked out for myself, you know? I just hoped when granny cut the old man off the biscuits, she’d keep making them for me! That’s all I was worried about! Anyway, granny slammed those flowers down in a chair on her porch and went inside in a huff. Before long, here came the old dandydressed to the nines, every hair in place, what few he had, with a little carnation in his lapel and his hand full of more flowers for granny. He rang the doorbell and stood as straight as he could, waiting for her. He got more than he bargained for, far more. The old lady jerked the door open and proceeded to tell him she was not interested in having dinner with him! Not today! Not tomorrow! Not any day! Didn’t this fool know she was a Christian woman? Not some hussy? She felt moved to accent every word with a nice swing of her broom! She was whacking that poor old man with a broom! The old goat was trying to get back to his car in one piece while the old lady administered a stern rebuke of his advances. I almost felt sorry for him! She was flat laying down the law! My daddy heard me laughing and came to see what was up? I’ve never seen my father laugh so hard! We were hanging onto each other, and about to fall apart. My poor Mom was standing on our porch, with her hand over her mouth taking it all in. Granny got rid of that old suitor, and before we knew what was going on she was whacking daddy with the broom! ‘That will teach you! Laughing at me!’ Dad was helpless, all he could do was hold his arm up to try and keep the broom off his head and laugh. I was giggling and laughing myself, and when granny turned around,and saw me, she gave me a whack on the behind with her broom! I laughed, and she winked at me. She turned and told Dad, as she went back inside, ‘You’re going to get awful hungry for biscuits, boy!’ ‘I’ll make them for Donnie! But you ain’t eatin’ nary a one!’ It took Pop a few days but before long she was laughing right along with us about the whole affair. She was a beautiful lady, and I think of her often as I grow older. I hope my grandchildren think I’m half as wonderful as I thought granny was. Pop and I still laugh when we remember those long ago days, and granny yelling ‘get off my porch!’ with every swing of her broom.


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