There is a little desk in our bedroom that sits in the corner. We bought it from an old lady who was selling some of her things at a time when her children were moving her into a retirement home. Well, she wasn’t exactly selling them. She was remembering them. It was her daughter who was selling them. Her daughter took pictures of her mother’s things and posted them on Craigslist with the title “Everything must go!” That’s how we found her. As we walked around her house looking through all of her things, she would tell us stories. Grabbing my arm and pulling me close, she patted me and began. My sister gave me that radio for my 35th birthday. She bought it from Bill Thomas’s store that used to be on Granby Street. She brought it in and we played Woody Guthrie late into the evening. I remember her face got bright red from the peach brandy and we laughed and laughed! We clapped and played cards for hours. Oh, the fun we had with that old radio. We ended up buying the radio, too. It’s in our kitchen and cracks out our favorite stations every Saturday morning. I wonder if her daughter remembers the radio or if she misses it. It makes me miss my grandma and all of her stories. And how she loved Jimmy Dean. She used to tell me that he would come visit her and shoot a breeze in the evenings on the front porch. He would bring his guitar and they’d all swing and sing and sip whiskey from little cups. I don’t know if it’s true. It probably isn’t. But I remember it as if I was there sitting at her feet listening to her clap and sing. Smelling the whiskey in the air. My grandad smoking and tapping his foot. Maybe Jimmy Dean was on their radio playing through the window and as my grandma got older her stories got bigger until he was sitting on her steps drinking her whiskey. And now I’m sitting there with her listening to him play and the story just grows and grows.
I miss her a lot. That’s probably why I bought the radio and think of the old lady. Her story is now part of mine and my grandma’s. Woody Guthrie and Jimmy Dead. Peach brandy and whiskey. All sitting on my front porch. Drinking and singing. Tapping and swinging. I really miss her.