My Grandmother Juanita was born on July 23, 1923 and lives a happy little life in a happy little town in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas. This is what she looks at from her front and back porch every day.
Mountain View, Arkansas
Her life has not always been a cakewalk, but that doesn’t keep her from being awesome. She lost both her parents at a young age, was taken on to raise by her aunt, worked hard on a chicken farm all her life, and then lost her husband at the young age of fifty-six. Oh, and then there was that time when visited me for my high school graduation, only to have lightning strike her house and burn it to the ground.
But, she’s not the kind of woman to let any of that curtail her Jesus-loving swag, and if you ask her, she’ll fess up that she’s got a great life. Undeniably, she’s been a bright shining light for everyone she meets, and I’ve never been around her when she didn’t remind me that I’m her “pride and joy”. She plays 42 (the domino version of spades) with the precise cunning and attitude of a straight up gangsta. I learned most of my moves from her, the rest from the fellas in the blue subschool at South Lakes HS.
I tell you all this to let you know that when we celebrate this woman, we celebrate the ever-loving SHIT OUT OF HER, because she deserves it. A few weeks ago, we threw her a big-ass 90th birthday party in Fellowship Hall with 15 cakes and an ass-load of cousins.
In 2003, we threw her an equally extravagant party for her 80th birthday, except that only two of the eighteen baby cousins had even been born yet, and I can’t remember how many cakes there were.
At the time, I was a fun-loving, single gal in Washington DC working for a restaurant/bar and living the dream! “The dream” being that I was finally making enough money to afford my first Coach purse. At age 27, I was already awesome, but could also be a medium bit superficial. My social life centered around the restaurants and bars I marketed; I had a solid foundation of real friends, plus enough bar friends to keep my life totally interesting and a laugh a minute.
Perhaps, I deserved to be taken down a notch.
After the weekend of non-stop-80th-birthday-partying, it was time to return to my glamorous life in DC. My parents dropped me off at the airport with my cousin Denny and his daughters. I checked my bag, and went to the airport bar to have a drink with them and wait for my flight to be called.
After about 30 minutes and one super oaky glass of chardonnay later, I bid my cousins adieu and walked toward the security line. Since the Little Rock airport is relatively small, there happened to be no one waiting in line. There, were, however, about 20 feet of zig-zagged stanchions.
I walked around the side of the maze of stanchions to the front of the line, nodded at the TSA agent who winked me permission, and squatted under the first stanchion, in a most Bel Biv Devoe fashion. (You’re looking for the 4:04 mark here.)
When I stood upright, things felt…a little…weird. But if there’s one thing I’m really fucking good at, it’s denial. So, I stood up super straight and clenched my buttcheeks together so tightly they could turn coal into diamonds. I prayed to Juanita’s Sweet Jesus that he would keep the two sides of my pants together and forged ahead.
(Somewhere there is a TSA agent with a hilarious blog on which I’m featured prominently.)
So much clenching happened during the moments immediately after the dip, and then subsequently as I made my way through the metal detector, removing my BUCKLED SANDALS and then putting them back on, that I blacked out a bit. It wasn’t until I got to the bathroom to assess the damage did I realize that I had checked my luggage and had no alternate pants into which to change.
So, I did was anyone would do: I went to the gift shop and bought the largest sized t-shirt I could find to wear as a kicky mini-dress for the rest of the trip. It was an XXXL and blissfully came to my knees. I did NOT, however, buy a sewing kit, which would have been an easy fix to my dilemma. Just goes to show you how debilitating the clenching was to my thought process.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, except for the periodic lactic acid tremors in my ass-cheeks, and I got home safely with relatively no fuss.
So. When I start to feel a little highfalutin, I remember that one time when I had to clench to save my dignity.