It got channels from overseas.  Grandpa: “Can’t understand those languages anyways.”  His favorites were westerns and wrestling, no news or sports.  Best not to play music while he was in the house.

*

Her garden was filled with dianthus, sweet Williams and Johnny jump-ups.  “Always a gob of Johnnies where you don’t expect.”

*

Shelves of records, eight-tracks, cassettes: Hank Snow Sings the Golden Greats; Merle Haggard; Hotel California; Def Leppard, Pyromania.

*

After Grandpa left for work, she made us French toast.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla; as much syrup as we wanted.

*

“Your Gramp always had a temper.  First I was afraid of it.  Then I got so I didn’t pay any attention.  Just let him rant and rave.”

*

Once we were tall enough we had to help her reach the top shelf.  When she was a girl she drank some vanilla because it smelled so wonderful.  “Worst thing I ever tasted.  Got me in big trouble.  In those days your daddy took you out back with a switch.”

*

Her favorite shows: Little House, American Bandstand.  “I need something, I’m to myself all day.”

A row of VHS tapes, labeled in wobbling blue cursive:

“The Net, good drama, Sandra Bullock”

“J. Roberts, The Stepmom”

“Goldie Hawn, 3 funny comedies”

*

The bedsheets changed each night during our sleepovers; their freshness after drying on the clothesline between her garden and the garage.

*

Six months after the wedding she was at Great Grandma’s door with her bag.  She didn’t have to walk, Grandpa drove her.  She was crying.  Couldn’t get her words out.  Great Grandma called Grandpa to come take her back.  “You made your bed, now go lie in it.”

*

The dish groaned on windy days.  Sparrows made nests in it, raised their young.  It took up half their side hill.  After they got cable they couldn’t find anyone to take it away.

*

In her hospital bed she held out her hand.  Grandpa pretended he didn’t see it.

***

Timothy Boudreau lives in northern New Hampshire with his wife, Judy.  His work appears or is forthcoming at Lost Balloon, Memoir Mixtapes and Fiction Southeast. His collection, Saturday Night and other Stories, was published in 2017 by Hobblebush Books.

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