So, today I decided to do this fast thing. Basically you eat nothing and drink this disgusting lemonade mixture and laxative teas to wash all the crap out of your system and yada yada yahoo…. I did it over the summer for a short period of time before giving up in favor of mac and cheese. Four days without food is hard people. And you are supposed to do it for like a ten day minimum. Some people have even done it for 40 days. One chick thinks it cured her of cancer. Surely I can do the minimum right? So I started out this morning with the salt water flush. You drink a liter of salt water really fast and it makes go to the bathroom. A LOT. Except, I didn’t drink it fast enough. I got right down to the last few gulps and…. blew chunks. So, I brushed my teeth and drank a laxative, crap-tasting tea instead. After a couple of hours I drank the foul lemonade, and got a major headache and heartburn. A couple of hours later, I chugged down two more servings of the poison in order to finish in time to go house-hunting with my parents and Trinity. BASICALLY, after going seven hours of intermittent puking, nausea, headaches, and heartburn (my least favorite) I gave up and ate some mac and cheese from Cracker Barrel. And shrimp. And biscuits. And okra. And maybe some mashed potatoes. My mom laughed and said, “Wow. You made it a whole, what?, five hours?” No, Mother. Seven. Seven. That’s a lot for my attention span. And stomach span. And taste span. And mind span. I’m kind of hungry now.
I digress, as I mentioned above, we went house-hunting today. We being my mom, dad, Trinity, and me. There were some houses my parents had found online that they wanted to look at by Denton. ANNNNNNNNNNNNDDDD… WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!
There was this really pretty portable home found on the edge of town. Now, I’m sure most of you don’t think of portable homes as pretty or exciting and what-not. But, I fell in love with it the second I saw it. Trinity kept trying to tell us it was super old (and hence unlivable). But, even just looking around outside I started to get excited and hopeful. There was a big yard in the front and the back. And I just loved it for some reason. The house and I, we zinged you can say. And we hadn’t even seen the inside. Which was awesome and in amazing shape.
My grandmother on my dad’s side (biological dad that is) lived in a portable town as well. They lived outside of a small New Mexico town called Tucumcari. Off of old Route 66. I spent a lot of time there, and when I can get away with it, I say I mostly grew up there. Most of my memories from my childhood are at that house. There was an ostrich ranch just across the street from behind her house. They had loads of land. There were fruit trees, snake holes, and chicken eggs all over the place. My grandma used to sit me down in the front yard in my own little lawn chair, pull her chair up beside me, and say, “Let’s sit and see how many big trucks go by on the highway. You can see it all the way out there. See?” And I’d start counting how many semis go by the highway, way out there. Sometimes I’d be playing in the yard, and grandma would come out and tell me to chase off Jesse’s darn goats that were eating up her grass again. I’d go get the broom and run out there determined to get those darn goats. I’d get over the fence that separated what I liked to call the grove from the rest of the front yard. I would start sneaking (or what I thought I was sneaking) towards the goats, broom in hand, only to run back towards the safety of my grandma when I got halfway there. She would laugh and tell me it’s okay. She would tell Jesse herself.
Whenever my grandpa came home from work (he was a truck driver), he would take my grandma and me out to eat at a Mexican restaurant called El Torro. I would always get the tacos. And grandpa would get us all sopapillas afterwards. Anytime my grandpa said something about going out to eat, I would say the Mexican place where I get tacos and there’s a picture of a bull on the wall. I loved that picture. We sat at the same table over and over. I would look and look at that painting. It was a simple painting that people have probably seen many times. It was a matador brandishing a blood red cape and a bull in the background–pawing at the ground. I remember asking about it one time and my grandma explaining the sport to me. I thought it was so fascinating. When we didn’t go out to eat, I could always count on my grandma having cheddar cheese (which I loved) and my grandpa’s everlasting supply of Fig Newtons. And of course there was always the trips to the grocery store. It was a small, simple store. Grandpa would always let me pick out a donut to take home from there bakery. Yup, I was spoiled.
But those weren’t the only things we went into town for. Grandma repeatedly went in to go see her hairdresser. I loved going with her. I would go play with the toys she had in the corner for children, doing the same wooden bear puzzle over and over again and listening to them gossip about the lady’s partner and other going-ons of the small town. I used to know the hairdresser’s name, as well as her son’s. She didn’t like the lady who did the nails. But, I remember thinking she wasn’t too bad because she did my nails for free. I really liked the hairdresser lady too. She would do my hair in all sorts of pretty braids and buns. I loved going into town with grandma.
Grandma had a dog named Sissy. My parents found Sissy one night, before they had split up and everything hadn’t gone too bad yet. She was a mutt. She was black and white, short, and had long hair. She was my grandma’s dog, and I loved her. I would help my grandma brush her hair out so she wouldn’t get tangles. I would help her feed Sissy her dog food. The same moist dog food. Over and over again. But, it was all Sissy would eat. She was spoiled too. When my grandmother couldn’t take care of Sissy anymore she became my dog. She was around for just about as long as I was. I loved taking care of her, and all the time I think about it, I wish I had tried harder to keep her inside to take care of her. She died of old age. My brother went out one afternoon and called me over. I still cry.
My grandpa had a horse and a couple of dogs. I don’t remember much about the dogs. Just that they caught hold of a stray cat one time and grandpa literally had to pick the intestines of the cat up and go throw it away while my cousins and I gaped. The horse I do remember though. I loved helping grandpa feed her. She was a pretty dappled silver horse named Shadow. She was the last horse left. Grandpa used to have a lot more. There was a lot of room at the stables for more, but dad said Grandpa had either sold the rest or they had died. I remember my grandpa letting me ride Shadow one time. I was wearing my old cowboy hat with a bird feather sticking out of it that I had found playing outside. I remember him smiling and speaking softly, giving me instructions on how to hold her and how to sit. She was around for the longest time, then one summer she just wasn’t.
Most summers I would spend a week with my grandparents by myself. Then over the weekend, the family would gather together. Not only would my dad and stepmom come, but so would my cousins and aunts and uncles. Most of them anyway. I remember four cousins, though I know I have more, Marco, Austin, Ashley, and Maria. Maria and Ashley were quite a bit older than Marco, Austin, and me. Whenever us five got together there ended up being a definite separation between us and them. They would go off on walks and just talk. Us younger three though, we were the cool ones. We would be superheroes and spy on them from behind grandpas trailer, and go around throwing rocks at all the eggs to break them (under Grandma’s blessing, she didn’t want those chickens around), and playing in the old, rusted trough. They were so lame for just walking around wanting to talk. We knew where the action was.
Grandpa gave us all Ferbies when we were young. I had quite a few at one point, but I’m not sure what all happened to them. He would also give us those little Techron cars that you could get at those gas stations. My cousins and I would play with those all the time. Marco, Austin, and I would anyway. My favorite part of playing with my Ferbie was feeding it. I loved the face it made when I pushed it’s little pink tongue down.
As I get older I see the resemblence between my grandma and me more and more. She loved listening to Elvis Presely. She would put her old records on and clean the house as I sat in her rocker chair. Now, I love listening to Elvis. There has yet to be a time when Elvis couldn’t make me feel better. Grandma also loved for me to play Phantom of the Opera for her on my cd player; I now know every song by heart. Grandma had an extensive collection of Native American decorations, porcelain dolls, and those stuffed bears you could buy at a department store at the end of the year, the ones with the year printed on its foot. While my collections are no where near as extensive as hers had been, I do enjoy them and recall them fondly. Something that wasn’t passed down that I wished was, my grandmother painted. She had a couple of paintings she had done framed around the house, I have never been that talented.
My grandpa died when I was very young. He was a hopeless smoker. Even when he got put on an oxygen tank, he kept right on smoking. I remember only a few details about him. I remember one particular shirt he wore. It was a blue and black plaid cowboy shirt. He always wore dark, Wrangler-looking jeans. When he came home, he would sit in the same chair at the kitchen table, on the end where he could see into the living room. He would put his boots by the cabinet Grandma kept her dolls in. I remember sitting in his lap and him telling me he had a snake in his boots. I also remember going and looking in. When he didn’t sit at the end of the table he would sit in his rocker and watch TV with Grandma and me.
I didn’t watch TV too often when I was there. I enjoyed playing with my toys outside. But, there were some shows we watched every day, when Sissy and the cat didn’t accidentally meet in front of the TV and start barking and hissing. Every afternoon we would watch Madeleine and Wheel of Fortune. I would then entertain myself untl the news was over. The All in the Family came on. I looked forward to watching the show. I thought it was funny. I would sit in the middle of the floor and watch it, even singing along with the theme song. Grandma was also the one who introduced to the rest of those old shows later on in life, shows like I Love Lucy, Happy Days, and I Dream of Jeannie. “Archieeeee!!!!”
I don’t remember the name of the cat anymore, but grandpa had one. She mainly just sat in a chair seat underneath the table and avoided human company.
I remember one time my grandpa and grandma taking me fishing in Chama. Grandma loved the color the leaves turned during fall.
They also took me on the train ride that went to Colorado. The Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. It took you on a scenic tour. There was a big bear that would stand outside and wave at everybody while wearing a striped conductor’s uniform. Grandpa got me a train whistle as a souvenir.
When I got older and couldn’t go visit them as often they started coming down to visit me. They would always bring a gift of some sort. One time they brought me a Barbie Jeep to drive around. We only got rid of it a couple of years ago. Every time they came down, they would take my dad, stepmom, and me out to eat at Furr’s. I think it was one of my Grandpa’s favorite places to eat. On the way there Grandma would always ask me what I was going to get. I would say, “The same thing I always get, Grandma. Fried chicken leg, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, bread, jello, and pie.” And I would.
Sometimes Grandma, Grandpa, or both would come and pick me up straight from daycare and take me to Tucumcari. If it was just Grandma, she would come in her car and make me sit in the back. If they both came, or just Grandpa, they would come in his big red truck. I remember they would have pens in the front with my grandpa’s name on them. I used to be confused because some of them said Bobby and some said Bob and I thought they were different names. Grandma and Grandpa loved to listen to the country radio station. There was one particular song that was popular back then. I remember always singing along to it when it came on, sometimes Grandma joining along. I don’t remember how it goes now, and I wish I did. I know it has something to do with a man counting the reasons why he loves a girl or something like that.
I apologize for the rambling memories. Sometimes they just pound me over and over again. I think I’m scared that if I don’t put them somewhere, the memories of Bobby and Shirley Beth Lowry, they’ll keep fading and disappear. And quite frankly, it’s the favorite part of my life. I can’t lose them. So I guess what I’m saying is, if you’ve read this far, all 2510 words, thanks. But I guess this was more for me than you.