Granny – Speakeasy #137

The next day settled heavy in my heart.  Thanksgiving.  I felt a little guilty that I would be more thankful in Vegas- away from anyone related by blood or marriage.  I don’t even like gambling, so this thought made me feel even more wretched.

I had to go.  Thanksgiving was sacrificed to my in-laws years ago.  Just as I vowed to love my husband until death did us part, I agreed to accompany him every November when he journeyed home for the holidays.  (Christmas was given to my family.  Hardly the portrait of “normal,” but at least they’ve never mud wrestled in the front yard like my brothers-in-law did last year.)

My mother-in-law is Greek and proud of it.  To her, Greek isn’t a heritage or a nationality, it’s a personality trait.  The gene possessed by every member of their very large family makes them boisterous, immune to embarrassment, and truthful without regard to tact, but also fiercely loyal and protective of one another.

Our first Thanksgiving, we arrived later than expected.  I’d hoped we’d sneak in and go to bed, but when the door opened, I saw the party already in full swing.  About eighteen people raised their 32-ounce cups of vodka lemonade slushies in a gesture of welcome.

“Who the hell are you?” Granny leaned forward in her wheelchair and studied us with squinted eyes.

“Your grandson.  Who the hell are you?” My husband said as he bent down and kissed the woman’s cheek.

Her gaze rested on me.

“I-I’m with him.”

“Humph.  That skirt makes you look fat.”  She turned her head, dismissing me.

I dragged our luggage to the back bedroom and contemplated staying there.

“This damn house is too crowded.  I want some fresh air, dammit!”  Granny hollered.

“Harold, take her outside, will ‘ya!”  My mother-in-law yelled back.

“I don’t wanna take her outside.  The cranky old bat hates me!”

“She hates everyone.  Take her outside anyway!”

After several minutes alone, I willed myself to join the crowd.  It was probably half an hour later when my husband looked around the room.

“Hey, where’s Granny?”

Harold, my husband’s step-dad, shrugged his shoulders.  “I took her outside.”

My husband ran for the front door, and I followed.  Sure enough, the old woman sat hunched in her wheelchair on the corner of Naples Street and Melrose Avenue.

We’ve gathered for sixteen Thanksgivings since then.  Granny passed away five years ago, but from that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.


This crazy story is inspired by Thanksgiving, and the Speakeasy weekly prompts:  to write a piece under 750-words with some reference to a trailer of the movie, Home for the Holidays, and the following as the final sentence:  “From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.”

If you’re intrigued,  check out Speakeasy and submit your own response to the prompt.  The more the merrier!


While this story is fiction, the Greek-ness of my in-laws is very real.  There are so many stories…but here is just one example:

I was so embarrassed, but can laugh now at the time we gave Granny a ride home from a family gathering.  We had to stop for gas, and Granny wanted some cigarettes.  My husband told her no because she wasn’t supposed to have them.  When threatening to pee in our truck didn’t sway him, she started yelling that we were abusing her and wouldn’t let her out.  People stared and my husband couldn’t get the windows up fast enough.  I thought for sure we’d be speaking to the police that night, but we got her home without further incident.  I come from a reserved family, so I’m often rendered speechless at the goings on!

I hope you have a beautiful week and remember to be thankful for family, both chosen and God-given.  I am 🙂


46 thoughts on “Granny – Speakeasy #137

  1. nrhatch November 24, 2013 / 12:22 PM

    Bwahaha! Both the story (“that skirt makes you look fat”) and your more personal anecdote (“help! let me out of here!”).

    If you haven’t seen “Home for the Holidays,” we highly recommend it. It’s a seasonal favorite of ours ~ we watch it EVERY Holiday Season and “Ho~Ho~Ho” our asses off. 😆

    • jannatwrites November 24, 2013 / 12:52 PM

      I’m glad you got a laugh, Nancy! I kind of cheated, because Granny’s comments were things she actually said during the years I knew her. (Never could wear that white pleated skirt again without feeling like I was fat :)) I’m going to see if Netflix has that movie…I’ve never seen it.

  2. mandyblake95 November 24, 2013 / 3:13 PM

    Amazing, as always, and the extra story at the end was like the cherry on top.

    • jannatwrites November 24, 2013 / 9:30 PM

      Oh, thank you, Mandy! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Whenever I relay ‘in law’ stories, people can’t believe them. Seriously, I can’t make that stuff up 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  3. Debbie November 24, 2013 / 6:00 PM

    Janna, this made me chuckle, and I totally sympathize. My dad came from reserved people while my mom came from a boisterous Italian clan. Watching the interactions when I was a kid made holidays and family gatherings MOST interesting. Guess it’s true what they say, huh, about opposites attracting?!

    • jannatwrites November 24, 2013 / 9:33 PM

      Haha, that’s great, Debbie. I guess it worked out okay for your parents 🙂 I was so nervous when our families met before the wedding. My grandma got a kick out of Granny talking about how her husband kept leaving her and she took the six kids and followed him until she had him deported. There is an upside: endless supply of possible story ideas 🙂

  4. Eric Alagan November 24, 2013 / 6:53 PM

    Laughing out loud – some families, we can choose via marriage, and others, we’re born into and don’t have a choice.

    • jannatwrites November 24, 2013 / 9:34 PM

      Glad you liked the humor in this, Eric! Interviewing a potential mate’s family might not be a bad idea 🙂

  5. J. Milburn November 24, 2013 / 7:01 PM

    I know the feeling about wanting to stay in the bedroom at the in-laws 😉 We share each holiday with both families, so its travel, travel, travel. Great story!

    • jannatwrites November 24, 2013 / 9:40 PM

      We didn’t always split the holidays, but we did that several years ago because with family in two different states it wasn’t really possible to visit everyone. It does make things a lot easier. Thanks for reading, J. Hope your visits go well this year 🙂

  6. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) November 25, 2013 / 5:24 AM

    That is hilarious. I loved your story! Fortunately we no longer have to deal with the inlaws since the husband cut all ties. Makes for much more pleasant holidays for all of us. No more sights like my mother in law bringing out her elephant sized underwear to show the family. That vision scarred my kids for life! LOL or tales about how she and my husband’s dad did it on a cooler. Seriously. No more fighting. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! ♥

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:04 PM

      I’m so glad you liked the story, Kathy!

      Underwear at a family gathering is definitely TMI, as is discussions of where they did, or did not do “IT” 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy your holidays more now. Gatherings should not be times of stress.

  7. pattisj November 25, 2013 / 1:31 PM

    Holidays to look forward to, for sure! LOL Enjoy!

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:05 PM

      Yep! Fun times for sure, Patty 🙂

  8. Lance November 26, 2013 / 5:07 AM

    Love the dialogue

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:06 PM

      Thanks, Lance! I appreciate you taking time to read it.

  9. Eliz@MirthandMotivation November 26, 2013 / 7:43 AM

    Funny with sad parts to it… Poor Grandma had it coming to her, the poor lady. Good story! 🙂
    Elizabeth, Speakeasy participant.

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:08 PM

      In real life, Granny was a force to be reckoned with. (She kind of intimidated me.) And the greeting between her and my husband was pretty much word-for-word. Thanks for reading, Eliz!

      • Eliz@MirthandMotivation November 27, 2013 / 12:47 AM

        I can imagine her strength in her hay days and that memory added a sad note to what happened. TY for stopping by to read mine, I appreciate the fellowship.

        • jannatwrites November 28, 2013 / 1:36 PM

          Thanks, Eliz. I enjoy reading everyone else’s take on the prompts. I’m always amazed at how different we all think 🙂

  10. tedstrutz November 26, 2013 / 10:14 AM

    My God, that is my grandmother. She was a tough old bird, but I never really knew her. Cute story, JannaT.

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:09 PM

      Haha! I about choked on my tea when I read your comment, Ted. Granny was certainly a character. We thought for sure she was too stubborn to die.

  11. irenebarnett November 26, 2013 / 10:35 AM

    Lord, I dated someone with a family exactly like this a million years ago – AND spent Christmas with them too – it was pretty horrible. 🙂 Loved the different characters and voices. Really enjoyed your story.

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:11 PM

      You are intelligent, Irene…this is all past tense 🙂 I should’ve seen the red flag in people asking if I’d met his mother yet. When I’d say no and ask why, they smiled and walked away. Silly me 🙂

  12. Christina November 26, 2013 / 10:44 AM

    great dialogue. this “To her, Greek isn’t a heritage or a nationality, it’s a personality trait.” made me chuckle because it’s my dad and his side of the family (Italian) through and through!

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:14 PM

      I’m glad you could relate to that part, Christina. I have noticed they fight and say horrible things to each other, but if anyone else said those things, they’d be vaporized 🙂 (Hence the deer-in-the-headlights reaction when MIL talks about these fights and wants to know what I think. Depending on her mood I’ll either say “I don’t have an opinion” or “I think you’re all nuts.”)

  13. Karen November 26, 2013 / 7:01 PM

    Hahahaha! And like many other readers, I was impressed with your dialogue.

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:15 PM

      Thanks for the encouraging comment, Karen. I always hope dialogue feels real 🙂

  14. ImeldaImelda November 26, 2013 / 9:51 PM

    For all of her misgivings, she enjoyed the occasions. 🙂
    I love this story, Janna, because it is heartwarming and real. Your characters remind me of the boisterousness and tactlessness of my own people.

    • jannatwrites November 26, 2013 / 10:18 PM

      Thanks for reading, Imelda! I’m glad it reminded you some of your own family 🙂 In real life, I enjoy the craziness, but when I’m in my quieter moods, I really have to psych myself up before we go. (I’m in one of those moods right now, so I’m really trying to get myself prepared.)

  15. Suzanne November 27, 2013 / 11:03 AM

    LOL! This is hilarious! And I love that I can picture the scene perfectly. I wondered if you had some personal experience you were drawing from.

    • jannatwrites November 28, 2013 / 1:39 PM

      This was kind of a mash up of seventeen years of interactions. I’m glad the scene came through clearly…you never know 🙂 Thanks for reading, Suzanne!

  16. Kianwi November 27, 2013 / 1:12 PM

    Too funny! I am a somewhat reserved person who has a crazy family, so I can put myself in this place. I never had a granny like that, though! She was great.

    • jannatwrites November 28, 2013 / 1:40 PM

      Thanks, Kianwi! Sometimes all we can do is watch, right? 🙂

  17. passionatedreaming November 27, 2013 / 10:21 PM

    Ah I love love love how you threw the greek culture in there! I felt her reserve! great read!

    • jannatwrites November 28, 2013 / 1:41 PM

      I’m glad you like the ‘feel’ of the story, Passionatedreaming! I really appreciate you taking time to read it 🙂

  18. jenbrunett November 28, 2013 / 8:35 AM

    She sounds like a lot of grannies, I know! love it!

    • jannatwrites November 28, 2013 / 1:42 PM

      Thanks for reading, Jen. My grandma wasn’t like this, but she was still fun in her own way 🙂

  19. ranu802 November 28, 2013 / 9:31 AM

    I loved the character of Granny.

    • jannatwrites November 28, 2013 / 1:43 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Ranu802!

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