When Captain Carl and I contracted to build our house, we were pretty nervous about it. It was much bigger than the place we were renting at the time and it was in a suburb on the outskirts of the metro…which meant a much longer commute to work and more distance between ourselves and our family who lived here. The only restaurants near us were McDonald’s and a donut place. There was one gas station and no shopping. Not even a Wal Mart, y'all. I mean, I thought a Wal Mart was a prerequisite for a new suburb in the south?
So one day we drove out to see how construction was coming along. The walls were almost ready to go up and we stood out in the street in front of our new house and contemplated brick color and tree selection and ohmygodwhatarewedoing???? And then I heard someone yelling behind us “Are y’all our new neighbors?”. When we turned around, I saw two teeny tiny old people walking towards us. This couple barely came up to my chest, they were that short. And gosh they were sweet! They told us their names were Fanny and Reggie and how happy they were to have a young family moving in soon and how wonderful the neighborhood was and how it was lonely with only two other houses built so far on our street. Captain Carl and I left that day feeling wonderful about our home selection. I mean, everyone wants good neighbors right? It would be so great to have such a friendly and sweet couple across the street!
And then moving day arrived. We closed on our house in August. In Texas. Because we’re geniuses. We hired movers, who could only fit ¾ of our crap into their truck. And so we spent our first day as new homeowners hauling loads of the remaining stuff from the old place to the new. We did that about five times. And then, hot and sweating and exhausted, we began unpacking the essentials for our first night. I worked on the kitchen while the Captain worked out in the garage. Our front door was propped open to allow the movers easy access. And so I didn’t notice when our neighbor lady walked in and sat down on our kitchen window seat.
Fanny: Ya’ll are getting all moved in, huh?
Me: *jumping* Uh, yes. Ummm, when did you get here?
Fanny: Oh I just came in. I figured it was okay since y’all had your front door open.
Me: Oh. Well. Actually, we have it open for the movers.
Fanny: I see you’re cleaning the refrigerator.
Me: Uh, yes I am.
Fanny: Y’all brought your old fridge from your other place then?
Fanny: *swings legs back and forth* Y’alls fridge don’t match your stove.
Me: No, we’ll probably buy a new one soon that matches.
Fanny: *kicking heels against our newly painted wall* Huh.
Me: *staring* Is there something I can help you with?
Fanny: No. Just stopping by to say hi.
Me: Oh, well okay. I’m ahhh, a little busy right now.
Fanny: *laughing* I can see that!
Me: So ummm…maybe we could get together sometime after we’re all moved in.
Fanny: Sure! *walks around the kitchen touching things*
Me: So yeah…well….
Reggie: *yelling from outside* Fanny! Where are you, woman???
Fanny: *yelling from inside* I’m in here, for goodness sake!!
Reggie: *walks into house* Well hey there! Cleaning your fridge, huh?
Me: Well, I’m trying to.
Reggie: Well, I ‘spose we ought to let her get back to it, Fanny.
Fanny: Oh you go on. We’re having girl talk.
Me: Ahhh, ha haa….well actually….
Reggie: Come on now…leave her alone. The poor girl is sweating right through her shirt. *stares at my chest*
Fanny: Fine then. I’ll come back later to visit.
Me: Ummm, okay. Well…bye.
Reggie: It’s so nice to have y’all here. Now we’re not the only white folks on the street!
Fanny: *stage whisper* Everyone else is black. One of ‘em is from Nigeria or Africa or something!
Me: Oh, that’s nice.
Fanny: Well sure it is. But you know, it’s nicer when you have some of your own kind around you.
Me: *open mouth stare*
And it pretty much continued from there:
Reggie: *after walking across the street to watch me trim the front hedges* Doin’ yard work, huh?
Reggie: Fanny was watching you out the front window and told me she can’t believe you’re out here doing man’s work.
Me: Excuse me?
Reggie: She says yard work is a man’s job and Captain Carl should be out here.
Me: Well, I don’t mind.
Reggie: Well, you’re doing a good enough job I guess.
Me: Gee, thanks.
Reggie: Pretty hot out here, huh? *stares at my chest*
Reggie: *stopping us while we are out for a walk * Hey ya’ll!
Captain: Hey Reggie….gotta keep moving, we’ll talk later!
Reggie: Yep yep, I can see y’all are exercising. Good idea, ya’ll probably need it!
Reggie: Well, I tell y’all what. We sure do like our neighbors here on our left side but *stage whisper* them blacks sure do things differently.
Captain: Ohmygod. Let's go. *starts walking away*
Me: Wait, what does that mean?
Reggie: Oh, I don't mean nothing by that. They just seem to do a lot of things backwards. It must be their culture or something to do things wrong.
Captain: *grabs my arm* Ha, well we really gotta go!
Me: Not it!
Captain: Oh come on, I answered last time!
Me: I’m not talking to them!
Captain: How do you know it’s them?
Me: It’s always them!
Captain: Fine. *opens door* Hey Reggie.
Reggie: Hey there, Captain. Listen, I don’t suppose y’all have a plunger I could borrow?
Captain: Ummm, what for?
Reggie: Well see, my grandson’s over this week and I tell you what, that boy has some intestinal problems.
Captain: *horrified face* Uh huh….
Reggie: Well, he left the biggest load I’ve ever seen in our toilet and it’s all backed up. You would never believe that it came out of an 8 year old.
Me: *yelling from my hiding place* We don’t have one!
Reggie: What’s that?
Captain: Yeah, believe it or not we don’t have a plunger.
Reggie: You don’t say? Well, alright then.
Captain: This is just a thought, but maybe you could drive over to the hardware store and pick one up.
Reggie: Well I guess I might do that. Y’all need me to get you one too?
Me: Not it!
Me: Well shit, I’m the only one home. *answers door* Hi Fanny.
Fanny: I got my grandson with me today.
Me: I see that.
Grandson: *stares at my chest*
Fanny: *walks into my house* Come on Davy.
Me: Ummm, is there something you need? Why does he have that big stick?
Fanny: Oh who knows. He just picks things up outside. One time he came home with a dead snake and a pair of ladies underpants.
Fanny: I wondered if I could have some sugar.
Me: Okay, how much?
Fanny: You got a bag I could take?
Me: A whole bag?
Grandson: *swinging giant tree limb around my kitchen*
Me: Be carefully with that please!
Fanny: Oh he’s alright. Yeah, I need a whole bag.
Me: Well, I can give you a couple cups.
Fanny: Oh nevermind, that’s not enough.
Grandson: *banging giant tree limb against my wall*
Me: Hey, stop it!
Fanny: Not to worry. That’ll touch up with a little paint.
And this is why we never answer our door or walk around outside in the daylight anymore. On account of our redneck racist hobbit neighbors.
On Becoming My Grandmother
2 weeks ago