“Redemption Denied ” August 3, 2012

I’m standing at my bright reddish-orange shag carpet Christmas tree window; waiting, watching, expecting my Mommy Gah to come home.

Nonnie, my “childhood life partner” is smoking like a chimney in the other room telling me to calm down.

“It’ll be ok” she says, “your mother is only going to beat you within an inch of your life, but you’ll survive” Nonnie reassures me.

Nonnie encourages me to sit down and please explain to her what happen (Nonnie is and always will be my childhood confidant) I know if I convince her, then I’ll definitely convince my Mommy Gah.

So I begin telling her the neighbor girl Julie bet me a dollar I coundn’t cut my hair off and I knew I could. And then I tell Nonnie,  Julie was suppose to pay me a dollar but when I cut my hair off Julie turned and ran home yelling “I’m

not paying you!”

I tell Nonnie the other neighborhood kids pointed and made fun of me. I end by asking Nonnie how can I go get my money from Julie because Julie’s daddy is a police officer and he will never believe me over Julie.

I notice as I’m telling Nonnie my story about Julie and my haircut bet I can see what I would later refer to in my life as “The Squint” beginning to well up my Nonnie’s mountain high cheek bones and slowly moving across her walnut colored eyes.

Now most folks would probably expect my Appalachian Grandmother to say or do something that might be reflective of some sense of justice. Like, giving me my dollar,  or coming up with some other form of acceptable justice.  But not my Nonnie, she whips around, cigarette in the air and hollers,

“Humans Beings are the devil incarnate and are never to be trusted, especially the ones who tell you they’re going to pay you!”

And as she says it, her cigarette ash flings in the air and a quick game of ash dodgeball ensues,

” And another thing, Don’t ever trust anybody who tells you about the baby Jesus and then asks you for money”. Nonnie says with a complete and utter sense of knowledge.

Now I know about Jesus because my other Grandmother, Ma-maw, is always taking my brother and I to her friend’s house where everybody sits on benches in the big blue room and where Ma-maw’s best guy friend lives on stage and yells Jesus’s name over and over again.

Yet, I can never figure out for sure which one of MaMaw’s friend on stage is actually Jesus, I definitely know I’ve never met the baby Jesus before.

And just like that, Nonnie gives me the answer I am looking for, or did she?