A Tale of Two Grandmas

"Your father and I need to stay with Aunt Bessie this weekend," said Mother. "We'll only be gone until Sunday. We've made arrangements for the three of you to spend the weekend with your two grandmas. "

Jaime, Jessica, and Joey were excited. Each packed his or her backpack with overnight things. They were to spend one night with Grandma Mabel, who was their dad's mother, and the next night with their Grandma Jo, who was their mom's mother.

"All three of you, mind your grandmas while we're away," said their mother when she dropped them off at school on Friday morning.

Children came running out classroom doors from all different directions when the bell rang at the end of the day. Grandma Mabel was standing near the main entrance on the steps. She was nearly run over by several children when they burst through the doors at the last bell.

She was wearing a purple wool suit with a sparkly pin on the lapel. She was also wearing a tiny pillbox hat and gloves to match. She was brushing something off her skirt when the three siblings ran up to her. She muttered, "Oh, my goodness! I am so glad you are here. Some little hooligans nearly ran over me while I was waiting for you! The car is over there." Grandma M, as the children called her, pointed to a huge, yellow four-door sedan parked at the curb.

When they arrived at Grandma Mabel's house, she directed each of them to their bedrooms. Joey had his own room since he was the only boy. Jaime and Jessica had to share a room. They were told they could watch television in the game room until suppertime.

Just before it was time to eat, Grandma M asked them to wash up and change into clean clothes. Everyone sat together at a long, elaborately set table. Fancy china and pretty glasses sat on placemats with matching cloth napkins. Grandma Mabel said the blessing before she began dishing up bowls of soup.

She instructed the children to put their napkins in their laps before she ladled out a bowl of soup for each of them. Joey got his soup first. He blew on his soupspoon and took a sip. It was cold! Joey complained loudly that his soup was cold.

"It's supposed to be cold, Joey. It's gazpacho (guh-spah-choh) soup, dear," said Grandma M.

Joey didn't eat much of his cold soup. Neither did his sisters. They ate a salmon dinner with wild rice and steamed asparagus that night. Grandma M excused each of them from the table. They helped her remove the dinner dishes. They gathered around the big, warmly lit fireplace after dinner. They sat next to her on the big couch as she read aloud to them. She chose a story from the Brothers Grimm.

Later, she passed out cups of hot cocoa as they sat around the fireplace listening to funny stories about their father. She smelled of lavender as she kissed each of them on the cheek before sending them off to bed.

The children spent Saturday morning playing old board games that Grandma Mabel dug out of the attic for them. After lunch, it was time to pack their things and get ready to spend the day with Grandma Jo.

"Toot! Toot!" A funny-sounding honk came from the driveway. The children looked out the window and saw Grandma Jo sitting in her open-aired jeep. She wore a big, floppy hat that was tied to her head with a long scarf. She wore a pair of camouflage shorts with an oversized shirt that was tied in a bow in front.

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