Tales of a Plain Fool


I was blessed with three grandmothers and one grandfather.  My step-father’s dad died when I was in high school, and I hardly have any memories of him, but his mother, upon grandpa Smith’s passing, moved to Texas and we became buddies.  We’d sit at her kitchen table and talk for hours.

My dad’s dad died before his first grandchild, my brother, was born. I know next to nothing about him except he was an alcoholic and he lived over a liquor store. I wasn’t close to my paternal grandmother until I was an adult, living in Enid, Oklahoma. I’d take her to dinner once a week and to her doctor’s appointments.

Then there was “grandmaandgrandpa”. One word. My mom’s parents. It was their home, jokingly referred to as “Gotno Rancho”, that I would spend summer vacations at, at least until I was a teenager. It was less cool to be hangin’ in Oklahoma as a teenager. Like Oklahoma was ever cool. Again, my years spent in Enid after college, though born out of a fear of failure, are important to me in that it gave me precious time with my grandparents.

All my grandparents are gone now. As devastating as Josh’s death was, it’s my grandparents I still mourn, on an almost daily basis. This is especially true of my grandma Helen.

She had a purple front door for 40+ years, long before purple was popular. She sang as she cooked and had an amazing smile.

Even writing these words brings tears to my eyes.

My mom and I refer to her folksy quips as “Helenisms”. When I decided I wanted to write about my grandma, I decided I would do so in installments, and name the series “Tales of a Plain Fool”. This stems from what she’d always say to us on March 1st, her birthday. “If I’da been born a month later, I’da been a April Fool. Instead, I’m just a plain fool.”

I miss that plain fool so much sometimes my chest aches. 

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