Monday, May 31, 2010

Why I spit in my grandma's memory

So today is Memorial Day here in the U.S.

It’s a time for remembering military personnel lost in the line of duty, or for some, just remembering friends and family who’ve passed away.

I did this yesterday by spitting.
Yesterday's sacred spit
at Tumalo Falls.

Grandma Lucy – the woman in whose memory I performed this sacred act – would have approved.

Lucy was the queen of peculiar behavior. She met my grandfather at a garage where he worked as a mechanic and informed him that if he could rebuild a disassembled car in a week, she’d marry him.

He did, so she did, and they were married for more than 50 years.

And you thought my wedding was odd. At least I knew the guy.

One of Grandma Lucy’s habits was spitting over the edge of any bridge she crossed. It became something of a family custom, with my father, my brother and I upholding the tradition on bridges and scenic overlooks around the world.

So when Pythagoras and I went for a hike at Tumalo Falls yesterday, it seemed fitting to hock a loogie in honor of my grandmother.

Back in 2006, I wrote a humorous mystery set in the funeral industry. It’s the book that ultimately landed me my wonderful agent, and though it didn’t sell, it’s still one of my favorites. When I started that book, I wondered if I’d still feel like writing humorous scenes about funerals and cremations and death if someone close to me passed away.

Grandma Lucy died the same week I finished that book.

And I can say for certain that she would have wanted me to keep laughing. She had a knack for finding humor in the strangest places, and for making other people laugh – often without trying.

So Grandma Lucy – I spit in your honor.

And don’t think I haven’t noticed what you’re up to today. Everyone says it’s raining, but I know better.

Nice shot.
Grandma Lucy and my dad upholding the family tradition.


Elizabeth Ryann said...

I can't believe I'm saying this about spitting, but: aww. That was really sweet!

And now Between Hot Lips, Grandma Lucy, and yourself, I'm really really really curious about what your family reunions are like.

Linda G. said...

I can't believe you managed to make spitting cute. Way to go! Now, if you can do the same thing with farting, I'll really be impressed. ;)

Sydnee said...

Oh gosh, that's disgustingly awesome. I would've loved to meet your grandmother and ask her what in the world she gained from spitting off of bridges, other than gleefully telling people in the area what's really in their water supply. :)

Lani Woodland said...

Who knew spitting could be endearing? That was a beautiful post!

Dawn said...

Grandma Lucy sounds like a pretty amazing lady and I'm quite sure she would want you to keep laughing. Great post. Again :-)

Talei said...

This so funny, I never thought spitting could be endearing but you made it so with this post! ;) Your Grandma Lucy sounds like a great character too!

Anonymous said...

That's a great wedding story! Your grandmother sounds like a firecracker and you seem to have inherited her joy of spirit.

I think humor is the only thing that saves us sometimes. If you can't laugh when you want to cry, then you run the risk of drowning in despair. For my family, remembering all of the most embarrassing moments of our lives over and over again is a form of affection and respect. Sure, we could probably save the stories for after the funeral, but then we wouldn't be able to handle the service.

Christi Goddard said...

What an awesome lady. It would have so rockin' to have a grandmother like that.

Claire Dawn said...

You know you're an amazing storyteller, when you can turn spitting into an awe-inspiring tale!

Liz Czukas said...

Your grandmother and my grandfather would get along famously.

I'd listen to you tell stories any day of the week. Thanks.

- Liz

Tawna Fenske said...

Elizabeth, back when Grandma Lucy was alive, there was nothing more entertaining than watching her and Hot Lips together!

Linda G, note to self: plan cute fart post. Wait, I think I need Patrick Alan for this.

Sydnee, I think it was the spectacle of it all. Gotta admit, it's a pretty satisfying endeavor!

Lani, thanks! There's something sweet about spitting, no?

Dawn, I owe Grandma Lucy quite a lot for my sense of humor. Should probably just sign my advance check over to her estate right now :)

Talei, she was a fantastic character indeed!

danicaavet, Love this: "Sure, we could probably save the stories for after the funeral, but then we wouldn't be able to handle the service." Well said!

Christi, I've been blessed with TWO crazy grandmothers. I blogged about Hot Lips in my Feb. 25 post :)

Claire Dawn, awww, thanks! Having nut-jobs in the family helps with the storytelling.

Liz, is your grandfather single? If so, he should meet my other grandma (Hot Lips).

Thanks for reading, guys!

Anonymous said...


Now I know why Grandma liked you the best. You were bonded by saliva.


Purple Cow said...

In Greece we spit to ward off the evil eye. Did she have Greek roots? (I note that you also mention a Pythagoras).

If your grandma Lucy was one that kept people laughing then you definitely seem to have taken after her.

Keep laughing! Keep blogging! Keep spitting!

grace said...

That's possibly the greatest wedding story I've ever heard. I wonder if that would work for me? Anyone see any hot mechanics around here?

Tawna Fenske said...

Goose, "Bonded by Saliva" sounds like an excellent title for my next romance novel.

Purple Cow, no Greek heritage here - just German! I will indeed keep laughing, blogging, and spitting. Thanks!

Grace, hey, it's worth a shot. I see a lot of hot mechanics out there :)