Monday, November 27, 2006

The World According To Grandad

Dear Sis,

I just wanted to share some of the wisdom imparted to me by Grandad today. He asked if I had heard your news. "Yes, she's expecting," I said, hoping that was the news he meant and I hadn't let the cat out of the bag. "She and Richard built up some compost, did some lovemaking and now there's a baby." "Excuse me?" I said, wondering if he thought I didn't have a grasp of the birds and the bees, or if his great age had addled his brain.

"I knew this bloke once, who came to me because he and his wife couldn't have children. He said he and his wife had regular sex (Grandad, talking about sex!!!) but no babies. I told him: "Don't go near her for 3 weeks, then do your business and it's guaranteed to work." It did too! Afterwards, he and his wife wouldn't look me in the eye; thought, "This old boy knows too much." See, being an animal breeder (oh God!), you know about these things."

Well, seeing as your youngest is now 6, I guess Grandad believes you had built up very good compost indeed! I had better be careful. My uterus must be the human equivalent of Miracle Gro™.

While I was still trying to digest Grandad’s views on your fertility, he started on a new tack: "When you're 50 it's all over. Then any looks you might have had are gone and you become, well let us say, obese. People will think any of your ideas are antiquated." Mistakenly believing that Grandad was talking in the abstract and wanting to make a joke, I said: "Well, that means I only have 6 years to go!" But to my horror I realized he was speaking directly to me. "I only say this as your grandfather. If you had a father I'd refer you to him, but he's gone now." I gave my belly a quick check: round, yes, obese, no. And no one's been digging over the compost, so I should be fine.

Of course, I should have realized that no phone call could pass without the lecture and the subtle or not-so-subtle enumeration of Reasons Why I Should Come Back To Britain, which were:

1) Global warming (it was as hot as California in the summer)
2) Good opportunities as evidenced by cousin Clare getting a good managerial position and her husband going to work for the police force
3) Being able to find a house near the post office and shops (does he think LA doesn't have those?)
4) My family loves me (this is the point I always cry, along with his references to Dad and how much he always respected him)

Just when I thought I'd heard everything, Grandad then decided to close on an exhortation: "You know, you've got good genes. All our family is respectable, hard-working, honest, dyslexic..." (Dyslexic? Was he confusing the word with something else? What could it be? Anorexic? Apoplexic?) "...You see, being dyslexic we have original ideas because our brain works differently to other people's." Then I figured it out: Aunty Vicki's doing fundraising for the dyslexia charity - she must have done a very good job in educating him on the cause and maybe overcompensated a bit for the fact that indeed many of our family are lousy spellers and some of us get our words jumbled up, and not just when we're drunk.

So there you have it! The world according to Grandad. At 91 may I be as lucid, healthy, and dyslexic.


Copyright © 2006 Louise Godbold

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