(A real life parable)
I was taking a drive on the country roads as a break from sitting alone in the house, feeling sorry for myself for having been widowed recently and facing the many pressures involved in re-organizing my life while keeping ahead of the bills. The beauty of my beloved prairie was blinding, reminding me of my continuing fight to save my vision. What if I could never again see the clusters of golden flowers blooming beside the road? They seemed to be waiting for the ripening grain to join them as it matures and dazzles us with brilliance for a brief while before being lost in the stark white of winter.
I realized that I was passing the home of Granny Grundy whom I had known so well a very long time ago. Her little house looked much the same. A tiny cottage that was once a farmhouse but the farmland had all been sold off and nothing left but the small yard with a house precisely in the middle. Her flowers still bloomed in the yard and appeared to be carefully tended. On an impulse I stopped, approached and knocked on the door. A middle-aged lady who appeared to be a clone of Granny as she was in my memory told me that she was Granny's grand-daughter and was living there to care for the place. It seems Granny was living in the assisted living center and insisted that she would return home one day. Her family felt that its continued existence was what was keeping their beloved Granny alive.
Thus propelled, I had to go to the center to once again meet with a good friend whom I had not seen in much too long. I had no idea how old she might be because any inquiries were always met with a stern, "Never ask a lady her age!" I also never knew her given name. Surely she had one, but we always referred to her as Granny Grundy, perhaps because we liked the way it sounded. Every child who lived in the area loved to sit in her kitchen, munching cookies and drinking cold milk on a hot summer afternoon. Our parents always knew that if a kid was out of shouting distance, he or she could be found at Granny's house.
Now the nurse steered me to the end of the long hall where Granny was currently residing. "You won't have long to visit. She has a news show on television that she watches religiously every day."
We entered the tiny, all-purpose room that was furnished with a bed, a familiar-looking dresser, and a hospital bed against the wall flanked by two straight chairs. The tiny figure sat in the bentwood-and-cane rocking chair that once graced her living room. Though it was small, her tiny feet barely reached the floor. The nurse announced her visitor and disappeared out the door. The wizened figure in the chair stirred and the piercing black eyes looked me over carefully and critically. Then came the familiar cackle, "Lordy, Girl, git ovah heah where I can look at you bettah!"
Not missing a word as I approached, she continued, "You look jis' as purty as ever! You was always a purty child though I never thought you knowed it. And don't tell me it's jist my agin' eyes. I can still see thangs that I ain't suppose to."
Trying to make conversation, I offered, "Granny, the nurse tells me that you have a favorite TV show coming up in a little while. What do you like to watch?"
I was taken aback as she snapped, "The Ed Show. He's on at five, and I watch him ever' day! He tells the truth and don't give no never-mind whether they like it or not! Then I turn it off for supper and turn it back on for Olbermann. I don't watch that Matthews feller."
This was getting good, so I queried, "Why don't you like Chris Matthews?"
"Because he ain't got no conviction. He's like a dam' football announcer, jis' a-watchin' the game and don't care who wins. Nothin's either right or wrong! He's all about politics and all the same. Now, Ed takes a side and he tells you why, So does Keith. Keith is kinda funny lotsa times but he tells 'em what he thinks, too."
"That's a lot of excitement for one night, isn't it? When do you go to bed?" I asked.
"Not till nine o'clock! Gotta watch Rachel. They keep tellin' me she's gay but I don't care. She's a beauty and she works her pretty little hiney off tellin' us what's goin' on."
As she spoke, she got even more animated and sounded like her old, forceful self. I asked, "You're interested in the news then? I suppose you also watch some shows on Fox News."
Her answer was underway before I finished my sentence. "Hell, no! Them guys is all nuts over there! That Beck guy is ready for the man in the little white coat! None of 'em is safe to let out at night. Won't waste my time. They's all mad at Jimmy Carter now fer sayin' they's racists. You know they are! I lived in the south an' I lived among the black folk. You heard the sayin' and you know it's true. In the north they don't care how high a black person gits as long as he don't get too close. In the south they don't care how close he gits as long as he don't git too high! An' if anything else, they can't stand a educated black man! That's why they hates Mr. Obama so bad! He's smarter than they is and he got a little bit too high!
"Jist 'cause he's black they tries to say that the President is a for'ner. Well, he ain't. Even put his birth s'tificate on the TV but that ain't good enough! They wanta see the one from the hospital, you know the one with his little footprints on it that they give the mama to take home. Hell, if anybody could find it, they would try to make him take off his size 'levens and let 'em see if they looks the same! I tell you, that Jimmy Carter is a fine man. He lives what he b'lieves and he b'lieves in followin' Jesus like it sez in the Good Book! Let me tell you! I lived in the south and I lived among black people and they ain't a dime's worth of difference in their livin'! Them little black bellies hurts when they gets hungry jis' the way the little white ones does! Jimmy knows that.