My grandmother is an Arkansas country woman at heart. I used to watch her kill chickens, gut fish, and pluck vegetables from the garden. She wore knee-high rubber boots and a nightgown to take garbage out to the burn barrel, stopping by the chicken-wire surrounded compost heap to dump the peelings and seeds for next year’s mulch.

At any rate, Grandma sends periodic letters to everyone still living that she can remember. She’s in her upper 80’s by now, and lives at a nursing home. I save some of her letters, and I’d like to share some of it with you, verbatim. Seriously, I didn’t change a thing.

“April 2008

“I guess you have seen on the news about the Mormon church here in Texas that has been miss treating girls, I think they should line up all the men in the compound thats over 40 yrs old, Tie them up good and give several of us OLD women a sharp knife, we would take care of that problem in a hurry…..There is one in your area that I plan on doing in, I would put him down myself but the Lord would not like that at all.”

For starters, please recall that she is pushing 90. I think she’s been cantankerous for as long as I’ve known her, but at this age Grandma doesn’t have to exercise any sort of communicative restraint because she knows the truth: she’s all talk now.

Secondly, my first clear memory of Grandma’s house included a very large bull who in my mind has always lived in the backyard. He actually was penned up at least 50 yards from the clothesline which in turn was no more than 20 feet from the back steps. At any rate, Grandma and Grandpa had cattle, pigs, chickens, and rabbits. As even the most casual cattleman will tell you, at some point you’re gonna have to sharpen your knives and turn a bull into a steer. So when Grandma says to let the old women handle this, I have no doubt in my mind that she’d know exactly how to do it. Exactly. How. To. Do. It.

But the most disturbing aspect of the entire note is that last run-on sentence in her letter. Who’s this guy in my neighborhood and how does Grandma, from The Ranch Retirement Center in Houston, Texas, know about this bad man down here on Calle Portete in Quito, Ecuador? Is it the guy at the convenience store? The uniformed security guard outside the fertility and sterility clinic? The Quichua man who walks up and down the hill with a manual push-mower and a machete looking for work?

How well developed is this plan of hers? Does she have a passport? A plane ticket? Has she bought a dictionary of random Spanish phrases that includes “Take me to the pervert’s house on the corner of Calle Portete and Calle Gregorio Munga, over by the stadium…yeah, behind the hardware store.  If you get to the florist you’ve gone too far.”? Does she realize she can’t take a sharpened castration knife onto an airplane in her carry-on baggage? I need details!

I just hope and pray my dad doesn’t find out. He nearly lost it when the sale of her house fell through a few years ago. Grandma said “It was for the best…they was Mexicans, don’t you see….”


3 thoughts on “Who’s Got the Knife?

  1. wonderful wonderful wonderful! I love it that there are a few women, when they get too a certain age, just let it all out. You don’t have to wonder for too long about how they feel about stuff. god must have such a good laugh with them. If we all could be so honest both about what we would want to do to evil people in our world if we were allowed to do it, and the truth that we know God would not like it if we did so that puts the period at the end of the thought! I Love your granny, mine have long since passed away!

  2. maybe she will be put on “knife” duty at the entrance of Hell. On heavens side of course. she would definitely know a “bull” when she sees one!

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