Stories, legends and family tales

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We were able to be home for Thanksgiving this year, we’ve been away the past two years. George’s kidney stone and the Precious being in the shop for her new guts kept us in Ohio. If it seems like the kidney stone thing is taking forever, that’s because it is. It’s become a hideous entity in our lives refusing to move or break up, so George is scheduled for lithotropsy on Tuesday, and with some luck and the skill of a well-trained doctor, he’ll be ready to roll about the same time the shop calls and tells us we’re completely broke again. So yay.

Family gatherings are always a venue to tell stories from the past about horrendously embarrassing things people would love to forget but can’t, because someone always inevitably tells the story at family gatherings. My mom never misses the opportunity to tell the story about me when I was three and single-handedly destroyed an immense climbing ivy at the Atlanta Public Library.

“I came around that stack of books and she was standing there holding the roots, dragging dirt all over the floor and ripping the ivy off the wall! This is a child who had NEVER done anything like that! I was HORRIFIED!”

Had she taken the time to ask, instead of spanking me immediately, she might have learned that I was exercising my civil rights and making a statement about social injustice by destroying the very library from which I enjoyed borrowing Cat in the Hat books. Oh wait, no, that’s not right. I was three, and apparently unsupervised, so…

My favorite story is about my 80-year-old grandmother chasing a log truck down on Highway 41, right outside of Macon, Georgia. If you ever wonder where I get my tenacity from, wonder no more.

Wendy and her grandmotherWendy and her grandmother

Gran was sitting at a red light, on her way to a doctor’s appointment, when a log truck clipped her front left bumper, making the turn at the light. He kept right on going, and apparently, there wasn’t enough damage to keep my Gran from running after him like a citizen on patrol. She was completely appalled when he didn’t pull over immediately, so she got on her cell phone and started calling all the wrong people. Me, mostly. Imagine this: a senior citizen, barreling down Highway 41 in a Jeep Cherokee, following a log truck too close and talking on a cell phone. If that doesn’t terrify you, nothing will.

“Wendy Lynn, I want you to call your friends at the Sheriff’s office and tell them I’ve been hit by a log truck.”

“WHAT? Gran? You got hit by a log truck? Are you OK?”

“I’m fine, I’m following him, he won’t even pull over, he probably doesn’t have a license.”

“Gran, pull over. Don’t follow the truck. He probably doesn’t even know he hit you. And he can’t see you if you’re following him!”

“I’m hanging up. Call your friends.”

I do have friends at the Houston County Sheriff’s office — I worked there when I was a teenager. So I was scrolling my contacts for a direct line when I got a call – from the Houston County S.O.

“Wendy? This is John from the SO, how you doin’?”

“John I was looking for your number…”

“Yeah, I got your Grandma on line 2, says she been hit by a log truck, and she’s followin’ it.”

He was laughing and I was trying to figure out how my Grandmother got a phone call out on her Jitterbug phone before I was able to hit “send” on my fancy Android.

“Did you tell her to pull over?!”

“Yeah, she’s on the side now – she’s somethin’ else, I tell ya’. She’s madder n’ hell. She’s in Bibb County, I can’t send one of my boys up there, but State’s going over to take a report. I’m glad he didn’t stop, she’d a broke his window out. She’s mad.”

Thankfully, my friends at the Georgia State Patrol took a report and escorted my Gran on to her doctor’s appointment. The story is legend in our family, and I’d bet John tells it occasionally, too.

You go, Gran.

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