I’ve a question for you. And I warn you that the answer will not reflect well on you, whatever it is. What’s the most ridiculous domestic argument you have had since the lockdown? Ours have varied from the lettuce leaves in a salad being cut too small, to how to organize our children’s unruly Lego collection. And then there’s the discussion of how to pack a dishwasher. That is a seriously marriage-ending conversation.
Being all at home together has brought the small things into focus with much more clarity than normal, and, in my 4 month experience, with much more ability to annoy. Small stones in your shoes annoy most - and all that.
My dancing grandpa featured in our blog not so long ago. This week, it’s his wife’s turn. as we remember her on what would have been her 100th birthday.
My overriding memory of ‘Granny’ is -above all - of a brilliantly kind and caring woman. She was a remarkable woman who had turned her poor life chances upside down and achieved a huge amount. She also had a keen radar for pomposity and self-importance! She had grown up in a village community where everyone inside and outside the family was closely observed. No-one was allowed to get ‘above themselves’. Her six siblings (of whom I knew only two) had developed a shared inventory of comments to use when the pomposity radar went off. “He thinks his body every self,” they used to say conspiratorially. And she and her sisters would shrug their shoulders, roll their eyes and go off into peals of laughter. You couldn’t really do anything but laugh with them. It cut the pretentious down to size. It recognised human foibles. It brilliantly and gently took all the menace out of the situation.
My gran was good at recognizing what was real and what was fake. She was good at recognizing when small things and small-minded people started to take on an exaggerated importance. Critically, she helped us also never to forget the equal value of the people involved.
If she had overheard our salad leaves argument, I am pretty sure she would have smiled and told us we were being chumps! Probably she would have encouraged us to laugh at ourselves and move on. I don’t think she had a saying for ‘Get over yourselves’ but she’d have appreciated the sentiment.
Happy 100th Granny. ‘You are dead but you won’t lie down’ (another of her sayings). Your memory and your legacy lives on. … But if she was here, I still wouldn’t be telling her about the dishwasher argument though. That one is no laughing matter.