In Sutter Creek, California,
I rode my bike to my granny’s house
she never wanted to leave. It was sunny
I had stuffed monkey Lucy’s tail wrapped around my
banana seat. We waved to Mr. Bugni
he waved back (it’s ok I’ve met him
before so he is not a stranger). Not like Mrs. Gibney –
she just moved there.
It took me exactly
nine minutes to get to my granny’s house
I rode real fast down the hills and didn’t stop
to pet Marcy’s new puppy, and Lucy didn’t fall off.
My granny’s smelled like apple pie and
I knew the crust would be real good. Flakey,
that‘s how she made it.
Lucy and I met her in the kitchen.
She was in there in her housecoat,
the one with faded red flowers, and weird shoes
that she cut the toes out because they hurt her feet.
Granny was cutting out coupons. I got to look at the
Sears and Roebuck catalog…and boy was it heavy.
The cover was a lady in an Easter dress and it said
I turned to the clothes and asked for a pen ‘cause I was gonna
mark the stuff I wanted. I did this every year so
that everybody knew what I wanted for my birthday.
I circled the pink corduroy jacket on page 73
I gotta have that!
My granny leaned over to look.
Huh…? hmmm … oh, that’s nice dear,
and she went back to cutting out her coupons.
I worked my way through marking the things I needed.
I got to the toy section, and I was in heaven. I wanted
one of each on page 176.
We took a break and ate pie and ice cream
sweet juice ran down my chin, and my granny
handed me a napkin.
I wondered what it would be like if she left her house
like normal people. Even Mrs. Gibney went to the store
by herself, and she had only been there a week.
I like to imagine us eating in restaurants with big hats
sipping tea and eating those little sandwiches
with the crusts cut off. She would have worn
that salmon colored dress
with the rhinestones on the neckline that
I saw once in her closet,
and I would wear that pink corduroy jacket
that I circled on page 73.
I asked her about it one time, that salmon dress. She said
this old thing, I got it from Sears and Roebuck my dear.
And she told me that it was for an anniversary party
for my granddad and her.
She said I was too young to remember,
and she only wore it that once.
I always wondered why she didn’t want to go grocery shopping,
and why she ordered everything
out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
My mom said that sometimes my granny got sad
and as a young girl I didn’t really know what that meant.
To me it just meant that she never wanted to come
to my school plays or art shows or softball games.
How old will you be this year, my granny asked?
I looked up at her from my circling. She said it real sly,
like she didn’t know. But I knew better,
so I say 16, even though I was half that. She says,
Guess you’ll be getting your license soon.
Yeah, I guess I can drive you now.
And we both nervously laughed.
I went back to circling.
It was January 12, 1980.