Beauty Before Comfort

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today is the end of week 11, so it's time for the end of the week count.

For the week:


PAGES - 1,709

For the entire year so far:

CHAPTERS - 1,489

PAGES - 19,932

Today's book; "Allison Grock has written an irresistible memoir about her maternal grandmother, Aneita Jean Blair, a woman who came of age during the Depression in a West Virginia factory town yet refused to succumb to the desperation that surrounded her. Instead, Aneita Jean rouged her cheeks and kicked up her heels and did her best to forget the realities of life in an insular community where your neighbors could be as unforgiving as the Appalachian landscape. Before it was all over, Aneita Jean would have seven marriage proposals and her share of the tragedies that befall small-town girls with bushels of suitors and bodies like Miss America, girls "who dare to see past the dusty perimeters of their lives."

Here's my favorite passage; "I must have been around ten years old when I realized that my grandmother was not like other grandmothers. Men would call - plumbers, pastors, Boy Scouts - and she would work them into a lather. "Oh my! My robe seems to have fallen open. How embarrassing." - The author then goes on to describe her grandmother's baking habits; "While she baked, my grandmother sang. Her voice was lilting and sweet, which nearly overcame the raunch of the lyrics, songs of her own creation. . . " - Both of those passage remind me of my maternal grandmother (not the part about her robe falling open) - because I also realized quickly that my grandmother wasn't like most grandmothers. She didn't knit or sew or do any of the things that I thought normal grandmother did - instead she compulsively shopped for stuff like video tapes of Dwarf on Golf (which were as awful as they sound), made fabric bag lady decorations as a hobby (again, as awful as it sounds), and talked like a drunken sailor. I learned every bad word, obscene gesture, and rude comment that I know from her. When I was a child I used to wander what it would be like to have a sweet old grandmother who acted like the kind of storybooks - but looking back now, I think that would have been incredibly boring, which is something no one would have ever accused her of being. So reading today's book brought back some pleasant memories of my loud, interesting, funny, offbeat, vulgar grandmother.

I learned a new expression while reading this book: hoopie, which means a person who you consider beneath you. So, next time you see someone in public picking their teeth with their car keys you should just shoot them a look of disdain and say, "I hate it when we run into hoopies in public."

I was cringing during the chapter that described a person hitting someone else in the head with a baseball bat because it was bringing back really unpleasant memories when I accidentally did the same thing to my sister when I was 8 - although I'm guessing the bad memories weren't nearly as bad for me as they're going to be for my sister when she reads this. Perhaps I should have put a little warning on this paragraph so she could skip over it. Sorry again sis.