Grandmother’s Bleeding Hearts

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That damn radio blasted day and night with church songs – she would sing with the announcer, blessing Jesus for everything, she had.

Pray tell, what did she have? The same old Formica table, white with red-chipped paint, one over sized basin for a sink – soiled dish towels hanging, drying draped over one piece of wood.

A dented white metal cabinet half filled with foggy, plastic glasses. Ceramic cocoa bowls, cracked.

Every other day she held an ice pick in her aging hand’s defrosting her old refrigerator – those knees, had to be raw – knelt on linoleum day and night praying –
praying out loud, half crying, saying – “Thanks, thanks.”

grandma-with-radio

Her slippers worn her apron dingy – she never wanted anything new – God in heaven wouldn’t like it, she had to sacrifice, sacrifice.

I still see the old black iron pan, resting on a stove without a lid; scolded herself holding metal in place. Her pantry had a liner – covered with little frills;
red and white flowers, cups, saucers lined perfectly in space. No one touched a single item in her pantry.

If the old door creaked, or the calendar shook that hung from a nail on her pantry door – Grandma appeared wondering what it was you took?

A pull string hung in the middle of her kitchen – it would hit her head when she stood – a string – a cord connected to her damn radio, connecting life.

As she aged a hassock would be placed to lift her legs. her feet would drag, her knees were old and she appeared frail. She still prayed as her homemade curtains blew in the wind.

Grandmother ached inside, ached to reach her window sill to stare out a pane of glass – old, and aging rapidly.

She never, never, wanted to cry, but I felt her tears, her aging heart.

She never gave up old “Zebra Bread.” a toaster – she flipped two sides with her curled thumbs, testing, to see if her bread was cooked.

Every morning, into the cracked ceramic bowl she tossed, dried old Italian Bread, Dandy Crackers, Ritz, Graham – Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, and cookies – from her old antique cookie jar; a funny bear – it smiled at us, remaining on the same spot of her chipped table.

I loved her Cookie Jar filled with striped cookies from “Woolworth’s.” Those cookies made me happy.

On Tuesday Grandma climbed the staircase to the second floor holding a brown paper bag – I followed. She filled the old antique cookie jar with cookies from
Woolworth’s.”

I sat near the pantry door, patiently waiting – as she handed me one – her gold tooth shinned as she smiled – I waited, squirming in now in the chair, begging
with my eyes for more.

Now I wonder why Grandma’s pans hung from nails in her pantry – I wonder why she had a bread box, nailed shut?

The cookie jar, I remember most – Yellow, green with eyes that stared from her table.

But those damn church songs embarrassed me. Her homemade curtains blowing in the wind – echoes of how God would turn our world around.

I played beneath her opened kitchen window, near Grandmother’s plants – her bleeding hearts.

First appeared in the book “Grandmother’s Bleeding Hearts.”

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