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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tiger by the tale

My cousin Tiger was a brat. He was probably two years older than me and the oldest of my Auntie Ilene's two children. The whole family called him Tiger and to this day I would probably call him that, if I knew where he was. He had a younger sister, Julie. She was a brat too. They were the golden children of all my Grandmother's grandchildren. Why do mean Grandma's like the horrible grandchildren the most? My Dad has two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. My Uncle's family, wife and three children, lived in California so they escaped most of the family events that we were defaulted to attend. My Auntie lived on Flowerbox court in a neighborhood that looked like it was built after WWII, tract homes at their finest. My Grandmother showed obvious unapologetic favoritism toward Auntie Ilene's children and Lucy and I were just "the other children." Painfully obvious it was. My sis doesn't really like Grandma to this day, but I have always pursued her love and invested my heart into loving her without any expectation of reciprocation.
When Lucy and I went to Grandma's house we were allowed to play freely outside, but inside--lock down. We could lurk around the living room, but that was about it unless we asked for permission. Bathroom? Ask. Snacks and hydration was really a stretch but reluctantly given. Usually water, or Kool-Aid. It was not a fun place to be. The bathroom was between my Grandmother's two bedrooms and let me tell you I sauntered to the bathroom, slowly creeping, scanning along the way. I'm sure I would have frustrated most sloths with my slow saunter.
When Tiger came over it was our ticket to freedom. He could run through the house with freedom and gleefully swing open the fridge allowing the cool light to spill into the dark kitchen scanning for whatever his heart desired. I would usually peer from the couch vicariously living through his tenacity.
Tiger got into a lot of bad situations and never got in trouble but just got yelled at. There might have been some ear yanking or shoulder squeezing, but that is about as far it went.
When Tiger was at grandma's house and I happened to be there it was freedom. We were allowed to play in the back room and go wherever we wanted. Once Tiger decided he was going to break the world's record for drinking the most water. I was in charge of getting the water and counting. Not knowing the actual record, we surmised that 100 cups would surely be a record. He drank, and drank, and drank. 88...90...92...92-he was feeling very full by that time and kind of woozy. I went to fetch one more glass of water and returned to see him turn green. It was a pale shade of green that no one would swatch at Home Depot for an accent wall. It was a putrid, pale, blue-ish green and what I now know to be the tell-tale indication that, "the tide was in!" He threw up, copious amounts of water 92 cups of water for that matter. All over the guest bed and onto the floor, it was an amazing, shocking regurgitation. Telling my Grandma was not fun. It got even less fun when I said, "he was trying to break a record, we got to 92 glasses of water--what is the record for drinking the most water?" Bad idea and too much information to stay safe.
For my birthday, my Mom would have one of the sweet baker's at her hospital make me a cake what ever my heart desired. I most remember farm cakes--I had some crazy idea that I wanted to run a farm. What was I thinking! We had pizza and invited the family over for cake. Tiger would come busting in to our house, destroy my room, play with my new birthday toys before I could get to them (usually breaking one) and insist that he take home my farm animal toys from atop my cake. I would just watch in horror as this pernicious tyrant rampaged "my day." He would not have to help clean up before leaving our house, which was a requirement when we went to their house.
He once used my cousin's potty chair, thought that was a great idea too. When my aunt found the "present" left in the chair she went ballistic. Tiger was a seasoned veteran liar by then and I was too afraid to lie, about anything. Tiger wanted to blame me, I wanted the truth to set me free. I remember sitting on the footstool next to Tiger while my uncle smacked his belt between us--no interrogation lamps though. That was intimidation to draw out the truth. I was singing like a bird, Lucy was trying with all her might to rescue me from them but to no avail. I escaped the belt spanking but we both had to go to bed wearing a diaper. I don't ever remember him spending the night with me. I can only imagine that my Auntie Ilene knew her Tiger would be tamed by my Dad's might hand. Tiger steered clear of my Dad--I assure you.
Looking back at my life and Tiger's life, I'm so glad I lived my life. I'm so glad that I live my life under the supervision, love, and strictness of my parents. Tiger has not made anything of his life--nothing. His loose, no rules, free living life of adolescence produced nothing. I don't regret any of the things that happened to me around Tiger, I am happy to be me and know that every page turned in my past has delivered me to this chapter, this page and what a page that it is. I like to think I'm a good person, and most of my flaws endear me to folks who I allow into my "batcave" of personality.
I've been pen pals with my Grandmother since I left for college in the 90's. I write her every week and still to this day pursue her with a love that does not expect reciprocation. I've always treated her like a Grandmother who liked me-it drives Millie and Lucy out of their minds. Grandma tells me all the time that, "you are the only grandchild who ever talks to me. All of the others treat me like I'm dead." That was a bed made, but I would never tell her that. I'll still love her and treat her with great respect. I just don't think you should love someone because they deserve it, but because they need it and dont' know it. After all how hard is it to love someone easy to love?

3 comments:

Donna said...

It never ceases to both amaze me and drive me nuts that you RELIGIOUSLY right a letter to this grandmother every week. Yes, William, you are a good person. I'm with Lesa (Lucy)....she can cram it! One more thing....I'm also amazed at how you've become so smart and savvy when you were THE BIGGEST DOOFUS OF A KID. It confounds me. I can't believe you spilled the beans to your grandma with regard to your willing participation as the water delivery boy. You'd never be that stupid now. Live and learn.

Will said...

Lived and learned--a lot! By the way it gives me GREAT pleasure to point out that you have an error on your post. It's "write" not "right" allbeit they sound the same when spoken. I am soaking in the warmth of correction, knowing that I found an error.

I am now squinting my eyes shut and bracing myself for your wrath Mildred. Let'er rip.

Donna said...

Thank God it's just me and you ;)! I was workin' on my fist latte when I wrote that....or should I say roght that! Sadly, you couldn't even post a retaliation comment without a mistake. It's albeit not allbeit. Maybe you should write a post that lets the readers know about your retardation problem. It's not your fault William. They will understand.