Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 109

bed and wet your pants laughing.

Meanwhile Grandmother sets about unpacking. It won’t be long before she makes you bathe, sweep the kitchen, take out the ashes from the wood stove, change your sheets and clean your room. Meanwhile, Grandmother‘s busy primping herself when she’s not serving you pickled beets, smelly cheese and fiskeballer (fish balls you could do without). Thank goodness she makes blueberry pancakes on Sunday mornings. When she’s gone, Grandpa lets you have P&J sandwiches, pickles, Twinkies and lots of cookies. He eats sardines out of the can.

Sometimes Grandpa takes you bullhead fishing in his leaky rowboat. Your job is to bail out the water with a Maxwell House coffee can. The bullheads on Plainfield pond can bite and prick with their whiskers. You’d rather go walking. Grandpa makes you a walking stick just like his, but smaller. You paint red stripes on it. Way up past the blueberry patch you and Grandpa go, through the duck pond to the Svenson property. Mr. Svenson goes into the hospital now and then for his heart. Grandpa always checks on his place when that happens. Years later, Shirley heard Grandmother slept with Mr. Svenson one summer.

Your favorite hike follows the old Route 9 through Plainfield Cemetery. Grandpa points out where he and Grandmother will be buried. You ask him when that will happen. ‘One day, Lilabet,’ he says.

You get a lot taller. People start to call you ‘Liz.’ Grandpa spends more time dozing in his hammock. One afternoon, he doesn’t wake up. Grandmother sells the farm and you must spend summers in Cleveland. Your parents drink, and father has uncontrollable rages.