Old Red Socks didn’t care much about who he angered or how. I’m sure he inherited this from his mother. My Nana was one off those fiesty old birds. She was starting to develop dementia andwould momentarily forget who she was speaking to. She’d start yelling and swearing about how all of her kids were dirty sneaks and she didn’t want anything to do with them.
My dad always had some story of hardship for us from his childhood. He was that old person telling the story about how he had to walk 20 miles barefoot in the snow to get to school. The more alcohol he consumed, the more wretched the circumstances would become.
So it’s clear to imagine that on the rare occasion that my dad and grandma got together, things were interesting.
Nana came down to stay with us for a week or so over the winter. This was probably the longest amount of time that I’d ever spent with her. She lived in Maine and didn’t travel much. It happened to be a snowy winter (to Nana’s dismay considering that she wanted to get away from the snow for a little bit). But snow it did. Somehow, my father was able to get around the roadblocks and get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Without fail every time.
We went for a usual winter drive, and headed toward Mount Mitchell. This was always his favorite place to go. I think the Mountain spoke to him, I know it always has to me. We reached the upper parking lot of the park. I was in the front seat and Nana sat in the back. My mom decided to stay home this trip.
This was where my father’s broken give-a-damn kicked in. He sped up and started spinning donuts in the parking lot. A good fifty foot drop off was to one side of us if he slipped up. And his eighty year old mother sat in the backseat screaching like a bean-sidhe at him.
Looking back, I wonder if he was trying to give the poor woman a heart attack. Most of his antics however were never malicious, just thoghtless.
Nana spent the next twenty minutes smacking the crap out of my dad. “Brenton! You stop this God dammed shit!!” She was the only person that I ever knew who called him Brenton. Even his siblings all called him Tommy.
We made it safely back down the mountain and home. My Nana returned to Maine and slowly became more and more of a recluse. But i’ll never forget the way she yelled from the backseat of the large Buick that my dad was driving.