When You Get To Be My Age, Doll Baby, You Just Don’t Give A……

Grandmothah Bennett was my step-grandmothah.    She did not want her son to marry Mothah.  He did anyway.  She was pissed.  He did not give a damn.  She did come around after a few years 😉 I think…..

Grandmothah Bennett would show up at Robin’s Nest Farm (the name of my stepfathah’s farm, and where I lived my high school years and some of my young adult life, and also where JC and I were married) in her white Bonneville, smoking Misty Menthol’s, with a couple of bags of trash in the back seat.  She would fly down the driveway and come to a screeching halt, tires kicking up dust and gravel as she threw it into park. She would just barely crush out her half-smoked Misty into her overflowing ashtray before getting out of the car.  She was always dressed in either a suit or slacks and a blouse or sweater.  She was the only woman I have ever known who could put on lipstick by holding the lipstick perfectly still in front of her lips and moving her lips around the lipstick.  Saying she was a character is putting it mildly.  Some people found her to be frightening.  Some found her to be offensive.  I found her to be fabulous and hilarious.  She was also very wise, you just had to get past her gruff exterior.   My brother and step-siblings often called me “Grandmothah Bennett, Junior”, but it was not meant to be a compliment…..now, I would take it as one 😉  There are many Grandmothah Bennett stories, but today there is one in particular that I want to share.

My oldest step-sister, Leigh,  and I had agreed to take Grandmothah to the mall in Athens.  My memory fails me, but I think it was just the three of us.  Grandmothah wanted to buy a white blouse.  I believe that this was the same trip to the mall when we talked her into having a group photo made at the photo kiosk where you dress up in old timey clothing….that was the most hysterical picture ever and I wish I had a copy made of it because it faded out over time.  Anyway, we took Grandmothah Bennett to Macy’s and she was looking at blouses.  This was not a fast task.  A sales lady tried to help her, but there really was no helping Grandmothah Bennett, and she was not very nice to the sales lady so the sales lady left us alone to find the blouse.  Finally, Leigh and I went off in two different directions to look, and left Grandmothah to look by herself.  We were not far away from her.  I remember the next part like it was yesterday.  It was like Leigh and I both turned around and saw her at the same time, and our gasps could be heard ’round the store.  We were both at Grandmothah’s sides in no time flat. “GRANDMOTHAH BENNETT!”  we hissed in unison, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!” Grandmothah was standing there, in the middle of the ladies department in Macy’s, at Georgia Square Mall in Athens, Georgia, in her bra, with no top on.  She had not bothered to go to a dressing room.  She was just trying on blouses right there, in the middle of the store!  Leigh and I had looks of horror on our faces.  Grandmothah looked at us and chuckled.  She put one hand on her hip and cocked her head to one side and said, in her raspy Misty Menthol voice, “Doll Babies, when you get to be my age, you just don’t give a God Damn!”  Leigh and I looked at each other in horror and then burst out laughing.   Grandmothah finished trying on the blouse, bought it, and we left.  I think I was about 19 at the time, and Grandmothah Bennett was probably 70? I don’t know how old she was, but I can tell you one thing: I am already there at 45, and what a relief it is!  When you get to be my age, Doll Baby, you just don’t give a God Damn.

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