Grandmothers of the World Unite

You meet the most interesting people when you travel…especially when you travel by yourself.  This anecdote reminded me of some of the characters I have met on my travels!

“I leant forward and, and in the curved mirror above the driver’s head, studied the passengers sitting behind me.  Somebody had told me that every Greyhound bus carried at least one grandmother, crossing the continent to inspect a new grand-child, and yes, there was the grandmother for this bus, sitting two rows back.  Grey-haired, benign, she was knitting a Tiny Garment.  Grandmothers of the World, Unite, I thought, moving to sit beside her.

“That’s nice.  What’s it going to be?’

‘A jacket–for my latest grandchild.’  She held up an intricately patterned oblong, and drew a further length of baby-pink wool from a plastic bag.

‘How many grandchildren have you got?’

‘This’s be–let me see–sixty-eight.’

“Sixty-eight?’

‘Oh yes.  Last time she just had the one.  But the time before, it was four.  Her sister, she doesn’t usually have more than two or three at once—but then, she’s a lot smaller.”

I groped for a suitable comment.  ‘It must be very interesting for you, having so many.’

‘It is—it is indeed.  Especially as one never really knows exactly what colour they’re going to turn out, no matter how careful one is.’

I sat in stunned silence while she did some intricate shaping round what appeared to be a neck-edge.  Then she went on, “Would you like to see their photos?’

‘I’d really love to.’  Indeed, I could hardly wait.

She fished in the canvas carry-all that was standing on the floor between us and pulled out a booklet entitled Cherish Your Colon.

‘Oh bother, that’s not it.’  She fished again, and this time produced one of those wallets that hold plastic display envelopes.  She flicked it open, exhibiting about twenty photos of pekingeses, each one sporting a little knitted jacket.

‘Aren’t they darlings?  I bred their mothers, every one of them.  They’re all over the states now—it takes me best part of two months out of the year, just visiting them.  Costs the earth in fares.  But it’s worth it, every cent.’  She kissed a page, and I saw tears of emotion in her eyes.”

—-Christian Miller, Daisy, Daisy , 1980

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