We turn the corner into a small street called Bridle Lane. I am antsy from what seems like an extremely long drive, but in reality it is only about 30 minutes. We pull up to a small tan house. It is Granny’s house and no other house on the entire street looks quite as nice. The grass is perfectly mowed, all sticks are picked up, and a homey wreath hangs on the front door.
My parents have a night to themselves, and my brother William and I get to spend a night at Granny’s house. Our other grandparents live only two blocks away from our house, but every so often we like to go to Belleville for a night with Granny. The night is more than just watching a movie or going to the same restaurant that my other grandparents like to take us to and eat junk food. It’s funny how different the two sets of grandparents think “spoiling” us is.
We grab our overnight bags from the trunk and walk up the clean walkway to the front door. When Granny opens the door with a warm welcome, the smell of fresh cinnamon and oranges meets me. I notice her small but pretty gold watering can necklace. She greets us like we are very grown up.
She takes our coats, and we say farewell to my mom. I know we are going to do something unique, crafty, and thoughtful. In the past, we have made many crafts, which often included careful cutting, something that my other grandparents wouldn’t have us do at that age. But I knew she was watching closely in case anything went wrong, a roll of scotch tape ready. After our crafts were complete, she cleaned up our mess, swept off the counter, and set our masterpieces out of the way.
Next, we play a game of Chinese Checkers on an old wooden board that she kept all these years. She tells us that my mom used to play the game when she was a girl. Granny chose the green marbles, because everyone knows that green is her favorite color. Each color of marbles has the exact amount needed, some marbles different shades of that color from replacement of lost ones over time. She won the game, of course, every move wise and thought out, while my brother and I were just happy to get one marble across the board.
I keep an eye on the clock, waiting for five o’clock, which I know is happy hour. Fresca for the three of us, while at my other grandparents house it would likely be a can of soda for me and William, and a glass of wine or two for my grandma. In addition to the Fresca with ice in a small glass with leaves imprinted in it, we each get a large pretzel stick. While we enjoy our small treats, we play another game, this time Scrabble. Granny assists both of us, helping us come up with better words than ‘cat’, which is the best we could do on our own. Again, Granny won, but William and I both have learned several new words.
Next is dinner. We go to wash our hands while Granny starts making the dinner. The clean, tidy bathroom is through her bedroom. We each step carefully, not wanting to get the carpet in her room dirty. On every surface are pictures of us and our other cousins, and little scenes set up with small teddy bears. Granny loves teddy bears. On her bed are pillows neatly arranged, with the teddy bear pillow in front. We wash our hands with natural smelling soap and head back to the kitchen.
Once in the kitchen, Granny makes a wonderful homemade dinner. She asks us to set the table, and we do it with no protest. The silverware drawer is organized neatly with each utensil sorted. We sit down for dinner and enjoy the delicious meal, often going back to get seconds. When each plate is scraped clean, she fills the sink with warm soapy water and washes the dishes. At my other grandparents house, dinner typically consists of either going out to a casual restaurant, or eating leftovers and setting the dirty dishes in the sink for later.
When dinner was over, we go sit on the tan leather couch, with animal skin blankets draped over the back. We settle in to watch our favorite movie, the Apple Dumpling Gang. We watch this movie every time we spend the night. It is funny, and there are some life lessons, but mostly, we watch it because of tradition. No buttery popcorn, no candy for the movie, just sitting back and enjoying the film. Once Granny is finished with washing the dishes and cleaning up from dinner, she comes over to watch it with us.
Granny goes to get her hair brush, and comes back and brushes my hair. She is an expert braider. She french braids my hair with gentle hands. Usually when my mom does my hair, it ends up in lots of wincing and sometimes tears. But Granny braids smoothly and evenly.
Sometime through the movie, an old, orange tabby cat comes to sit on the couch with us. Her name is Lucy. She is shy and quiet, and most of the time keeps to herself. You know you are being peaceful if Lucy makes an appearance. At the other grandparents’ house, animals are everywhere; a dog begging for food, cats meowing and climbing all over everything. But here, even the cat fits in with the house. Reserved, respectful, and wise.
After the happily ever after at the end of the movie, it’s time for bed. We pull out folded blankets and clean sheets to sleep with. My brother and I both sleep on comfortable couches. After brushing our teeth and getting our pj’s on (which Granny lets us do by ourselves), I head to Granny’s bedroom, where she is sitting in bed with a journal on her lap. She journals every night, about the day’s events. I crawl into bed with her and watch her write in her neat cursive. When she is finished, she closes the journal and walks me to the living room and tucks me in, underneath the fresh blankets. She kisses me goodnight and before I know it, I am asleep.
In the morning, Granny lets me sleep in. My brother is an early riser, but Granny is already up and ready to make breakfast. When I wake, they are both having a meal at the high counter. A fresh glass of orange juice sits at my spot and I walk over and sit down. Granny says good morning, and asks me what I would like for breakfast. Unlike the donuts and sugar cereal like at my other grandparents’, here we eat a nutritious breakfast. I tell her I want a breakfast hot dog, which is something she introduced to me.
She toasts the bread, smears creamy peanut butter on it, and wraps the bread and peanut butter around a fresh banana. It is quite yummy, and filling. I thank her and enjoy my breakfast, getting peanut butter all over my fingers and face. But, again, she is ready with a damp washcloth.
After breakfast, my mom is here to pick us up, and Granny comes outside to chat with my mom for a bit. William and I have our overnight bags already organized, thanks to Granny. Our crafts dried overnight and they look really good, and we are satisfied. After all, why wouldn’t we be? Granny had helped us. We hug and kiss Granny and climb into the car. As we drive away, every time I look back at her house, she is still there, waving and blowing kisses. I can’t wait for the next time we can spend the night at Granny’s.
Elizabeth, Age 13