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Frugal Living
by Donna Flood
Who said, "You will never use Rhetoric 101?


Our long curved drive was buried in inches of snow which was an unusual thing for the last few years before 2001. The winter wonderland snow clumps of white were worthy of any greeting card and made the grandmother placidly remembering days and memories of those colder winters. Now while grandchildren were gathering for their moments with her before the school bus arrival she had to quickly drop any slow thinking and be ready to meet whatever problem might arise.

The early morning hours saw sleepy children, disgruntled from having been pulled from their warm beds in the need to be ready for school or for allowing their mothers to shuffle off to their jobs. After having endured the changes from a world where the men braved the elements and the women remained to cuddle and reassure the babies to this present world when she was having to view and record in her mind the women scurrying away from their clinging children to work places.

Long ago this older woman had accepted the change, not with agreement, but with a necessity to pick up where the mother's left off in order to meet the children's need. If the pace was fast for her, and the lack of a mother's better intuition was not riding with her, no matter, the need for an effort had to be made. She knew, although, she wasn't their mother, she still had a great love for the children and be this the lesser and not the best, still it would be what she could do. 

"Gramma, Gramma!" Elizebeth wailed, "Ross marked on my school shirt!" 

"Where? Where? The small tragedy could create a big chasm in these moments before the bus. "I don't see a mark. Where is it?"

Elizebeth pointed to a barely visible blue mark on her dark blue shirt, "Right there it is! I"m going to be in so much trouble!" the little girl wailed in a forlorn way, voicing the her real feeling of rage and jealousy of the younger boy.

Ross was jumping up and down in a circle.

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" the grandmother clapped her hands in an effort to get their attention. While they stopped in mid sentence and turned their attention to her, glaring with all the fierce looks their two and seven years could manage.

The grandmother held up her hand, "Now look, there are two things, here," she held their attention by slipping back to the year 1957 and her hated Rhetoric class. "Number one. First of all, Ross, " she spoke with the sweetest voice she could muster being it seven a.m. in the morning.

For emphasis, she repeated, "First of all! John Ross! (She used his full name for more emphasis) Do not mark on your cousin, even if it is with the same color as her shirt." 

"Secondly! Elizebeth! Don't make such a big deal of it."

On the table in front of her was the drawing she was doing for her web page of a young girl gesturing toward a tall elaborate door entry into a garden. "Look! Look! This is what Gramma is working on right now. Have you seen it?

"Whooze zat?" Ross in his perceptive curiosity asked.

"Its Elizebeth when she grows up. Can't you see it? Oh, yes, she will grow up to be this beautiful I'm sure. She will be coming in the door asking, "Gramma! May I borrow your car?" 

I will have to say, "Not my car, go ask to borrow your cousin Ross's car?"

Elizebeth was obviously pensive. She quickly looked in Ross's direction. He was taking in his two year old posture as much as a man's stance as he could muster. Hands behind his back, one booted foot a little ahead of the other and his weight shifted to one hip, a thoughtful studied look on his face, giving him the look of his Daddy when the man was thinking through a problem.

Quickly, the little girl, picked up the blue marker and thrust it out toward her cousin, "Here, Rossie! She was so demure and sweet it was incredible a moment before she had been crying with so much heart. "Here is your marker!"

 

 


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