Yesterday would have been my grandma's birthday. My dad's mom. She passed away three weeks ago today. Don't you all go feeling sorry for Granny. She was 92 years old, and had lived by herself, in her own house, until about six months ago. Granny outlived two husbands and three children. She enjoyed reading, quilting, and watching wrestling on TV.
Farmer H was a faithful companion to Granny. When her last husband died 12 years ago, Farmer H took up the handyman slack. Every Sunday, he spent several hours visiting Granny, whether she needed him or not. Sometimes they just went to jawing about old times. The boys and I used to visit as well, but not as routinely as Farmer H. The older the boys got, the more activities we had to deal with. Life gets in the way of living, I guess. But Farmer H visited Granny like clockwork.
Which brings us to today's tale.
Granny was a bit of a collector. Not by Hoarders: Buried Alive standards. She had many sets of dishes, and stamp collections, books, quilts, coins, clocks--even a mummified cat in her garage attic. OK, so Granny didn't know that cat was there until Farmer H found it during a clean-out. But that makes her sound like a hoarder, which she wasn't. She didn't even have a cat. Over the past several years, Granny asked all of us grandkids and daughters-in-law to take the things we wanted. No used waiting until she was gone, she reasoned. She told the #1 son that he was eventually getting her piano. The Pony was to get some swords, I got two sets of dishes, Farmer H got some old-timey collectibles and some clocks.
One of these clocks is a cuckoo clock. Farmer H hung it on the kitchen wall, where it has driven me cuckoo for the past two years. In fact, I persuaded the #1 son to turn down the sound on it six months ago. Each time Farmer H noticed, he turned it back to max volume. It's a complicated little clock, at least to me. It has weights hanging down that do something to make it run, I suppose, since it is not electric, and it does not have batteries. Farmer H got all wrapped up in his chicken-killing hobby, and forgot about his former favorite fowl. The cuckoo and I have been peacefully coexisting for some time now.
Last Sunday, Farmer H was home alone after dropping #1 off at church. The Pony and I shopped with The Devil, then went to see Legend of the Guardians. Farmer H was at a loss with what to do, not having Granny to visit any more during church time. He decided to whip that old cuckoo into shape again. Here's how he tells it:
I was standing in the kitchen working with that clock. I got it running again, and I had just set it to 12:30. The cuckoo came out like it was supposed to, and cuckooed. Right then, the kitchen door opened by itself. Not just a crack. It opened up like a person could walk in. I think your grandma came to pay me a visit.
Interesting case here. Farmer H is not now, nor has ever been, a Door Floofer like my mom. I have never known him to leave the door ajar. In fact, he makes it his life's work to close every door that is gaping or cracked. It's one of his OCD kind of behaviors, like yelling at the kids for splashing water on the wall during a bath, or leaving TVs and lights on when leaving the room. I, myself, leave the pantry and the towel closet and the living room closet with the door pushed to, but not latched. It is quicker and easier when you have something in your hands and can't grasp the handle to turn it. Farmer H is always jamming the doors closed.
As far as the kitchen door is concerned, it is sheltered from the wind, being in a little alcove on the back of the wraparound porch of the Mansion. The Pony's bedroom shields it from the north wind, and the kitchen garden-window-alcove thingy juts out to protect the other side. The only time I've known this door to come open is when it puffs open due to the kids opening the front door during a bout of Kitchen Door Floofing. But it only opens a couple of inches, and kind of breathes back and forth. According to Farmer H, it opened over halfway and stopped. The door did not slam against the wall in a full opening, as one would expect if the wind caught it.
Farmer H has always poo-pooed my tale of seeing the headless man in the basement. Like I would make up something like that. Who wants to see a headless man in the dark when everyone else is asleep? Not me, by cracky! So it surprised me that Farmer H attributed this swinging door to something of the supernatural nature.
At Granny's memorial, her preacher, who didn't know her very well, with her not being able to attend church for a while, read a little poem that she had left behind. It contained a line that encouraged us to reach out to her if we needed her, that she would always be around. I don't know if she wrote the poem, or just picked it out to be read. And after all these years, my mom told me that Granny had a vision of one of her sons after he died.
Some things I can't explain.