bills at the post office is frustrating. All of a sudden, the
money you have worked so hard for disappears through a little
slot; youre so worried the money wont reach the creditors
on time, you open the slot door again to check and make sure the
envelopes didnt get stuck. I dont, however, get too
depressed about it. What is more frustrating, though, are the
countless cars pulling in and out of parking spaces without looking
to see if anyone is behind them.
Easing my truck into the parking space, I cut the ignition and
gathered the envelopes. As I walked across the lot, checking to
make sure the licked stamps hadnt come off, I almost became
a permanent fixture on the pavement, like gum, oil stains, and
foodstuff birds eat. The green minivan was upon me before I noticed
it, and my hand actually slapped the back door. I leaped (frog-like
and awkwardly since Im so out of shape) ten feet, all the
while slowly yelling, Sh-i-i-i . . . t, sounding like
a 45 record on the 33 speed. I turned to see who had it in for
me. A stout woman with gray hair was reading her mail and driving.
No look of regret for almost having killed me, no apology, nothing.
The minivan just putted through the parking lot, leaving little
puffs of smoke behind.
Crazy old bitch, I muttered, Probably works
for one of my creditors. I wanted to chase her, beat on
her van, curse her, and demand she take another drivers
exam, but I didnt. I figured she was someones grandmother,
and I knew I wouldnt want someone to harass my grandmother
just because she couldnt drive.
I didnt always know my grandmother could not drive. I only
learned about her disability when I called my mother to see how
my grandmothers eye doctors appointment had gone.
Since my grandfather died, Granny's right knee had been replaced,
and she was getting ready to have laser surgery on her eyes to
remove cataracts. My mother answered on the third ring.
Mom, I wanted to see how Grannys appointment went.
The appointment went okay. She paused. I guess.
Did something happen? Is she okay? I felt a thump
in my chest.
Well, you know how she is. You cant tell her a thing.
Shes gonna do what she wants.
I chuckled, knowing everything was all right; she had only made
my mother mad about something, and I was curious to know more.
Whatd she do?
Of course, the doctor dilated her eyes, and she couldnt
see a thing. When we got back to the house, she said, Well,
I guess I better get going. I said, Mama, you aint
going nowhere. You cant see a thing. She told me,
I can too see. I figured if she could read the correct
time on the clock above the fireplace, shed be okay. What
time does that clock say then? She told me the right time,
so I said, Okay, I reckon youll be all right to drive
then. With that, she grabbed her purse, got in her car,
and took off. I watched her drive away and knew when she couldnt
keep that car in the sand ruts of the driveway that she was a
disaster waiting to happen. Not three minutes later, I heard tires
squealing and a crash that shook the ground. I couldnt bear
to go see, so I sent your brother.
Lord have mercy, I said. Was she okay?
Oh yeah, Mom said. She was fine. I guess. There
was no sign of her, but an eighteen-wheeler lay on its side in
the ditch. Your brother checked on the man and, aside from being
mad as hell at the old lady who ran him off the road, he was fine.
Of course, your brother didnt tell him it was Granny. The
man said she just pulled right out in front of him. Didnt
look or nothing. That aint all. The highway men are painting
the yellow lines in the center lanes on both sides of the highway
and have these orange cones lined up for miles, so people wont
mess up the paint. Your brother said she drove right down the
center of the highway, knocking every cone out of her way for
as far as he could see. Probably got that yellow paint all over
her tires. Your brother said the sheriff showed up, wrote a report,
and put out an APB on her car. Im too mad to call her. Mad
at myself for letting her go and mad at her for being so damned
When my mother said damn, I knew she was upset. Whenever she said
it, she said it low while clenching her teeth.
I called my grandmother to check on her.
Im doing fine, she said.
You have a little mishap today after your eye appointment?
I knew your Mama would tell everybody. Never could keep
her mouth shut.
Of course, my mother had told only me. She would have been too
embarrassed to tell anyone else. My grandmother didnt say
anything about the cones or the paint on her tires, and I didnt
want to ask. When I asked why she didnt stop to check on
the truck driver, she said. Well, I figured if he was dead,
I couldnt help him. If he was hurt, I couldnt do nothing
either. If he was okay, he might beat me up.
I didnt tell my grandmother there was an all points bulletin
for her vehicle. Quite frankly, I wanted to believe that would
worry her. Truth is, I think she could have cared less because
the sheriff is her cousin, and he wouldnt do a thing to
her anyway. If he came to her house and tried, shed fill
him full of her blue ribbon pecan pie, and hed forget all
My grandmother had her cataracts removed and claimed she could
see as well as she used to when she was young. She was seventy-four
then, and now she is eighty and still driving, except when her
new boyfriend takes her places.
My family first thought it was "'cute that my grandmothers
hairdresser had matched her with an old widower even though she
was scared to go out with him at first. What if he takes
me out on some back road and rapes me? she had asked my
mother. Hes eighty-four. What could he possibly do?
Mom had responded.
When family called to check on her, she would be gone with him.
Then family members said, Better than sitting in front of
the TV. After a few months, their attitudes changed. She
didnt call them, and she was never home. When they did reach
her, he was there, and she would cut them off, so they started
saying, Good God. A woman her age carrying on like a teenager.
Daddy would turn over in his grave if he knew this.
Me? I say, "Go, Granny, go!"
Reddick is the Dean of Humanities and Social Science for Motlow
College and serves as a freelance editor. He has edited for The
University Press of Kentucky and for several writers, including
Inman Majors whose first novel, Swimming in the Sky, was
published by SMU Press.
graduated from Valdosta State University with a B.A. in philosophy,
State University of West Georgia with a M.A. in psychology, and
Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Humanities and an emphasis
in English. He taught English and psychology at Thomas University
in Thomasville, Georgia, and at Georgia Military College at Moody
AFB, Georgia, and English at Motlow College. At Motlow, he founded
and coordinated for five years, the Writers' Festival and served
as editor of The Distillery for two years, taking the journal
from a regional publication to an international one distributed
by Ingram and one that received recognition and acclaim from The
Literary Magazine Review and Library Journal.