Saturday, December 11, 2021

Our Own Lucy and Desi

I sat in bed this morning watching CBS Sunday Morning. It's my Sunday ritual since the pandemic began. A morning of good feels followed by Face The Nation and political talk with my husband follows. On this Sunday morning, I was filled with emotions as Jane Pauley spoke about the new movie about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. Naturally, they showed clips from I Love Lucy and I began thinking about my grandparents.

My grandma was a fair skinned girl from the East side, while my grandpa a Spanish speaking Mexican. We had our very own Lucy and Desi. There are so many stories and memories that come to mind when I think of them: the aroma of homemade Mexican food filled their home, the way the sheets smelled on their clothes line as they dried, picking raspberries at the back of their yard, weekend visits, my grandpa's treat basket. Then there's the stories that bring a smile to my face whenever I think of them: 

Such as when my grandma tried to beat the railroad crossing arms as they came down in my grandpa's new car. One side of the car has a long scratch on it because she did not, in fact, beat the arm. She brought it into an autobody shop and had it repainted. By the time she picked my grandpa up after work, the new paint job was dry and my grandpa never knew about his car. Well, maybe he did years and years later after it happened since this story has been retold to me many, many times.

Then, there's the first spray paint story. My grandma was trying to hammer a nail into the wall and decided on a bottle of orange spray paint to do the job. Obviously, the nail punctured the can and my grandma, not knowing what to do, ran through the house with the can of spraying orange paint to get it outside. Logical thinking, I likely would do the same. Except, it left a trail of bright orange spray paint throughout the walls of their house, ending at the back door, where my grandma threw it out into the yard. I don't remember what my grandpa did when he came home to find orange spray paint all over his house, but I know he laughed retelling that story to his grandchildren years later.

The second spray paint story happened many years later, as we were sitting around my grandparents house chatting. My mom decided to paint her nail in the living room, with bright red nail polish, on my grandma's brand new carpet. My grandma was so stoked by her new carpet that she was protective of it. As you can guess, my mom dropped the bottle of red nail polish all over the carpet. My grandma, who could barely breathe anyway due to emphysema, sat on the couch, holding her rosery, saying over and over again, "my carpet, my new carpet." My grandpa ran to get cleaner, quickly came back into the room, and told us all to stand back while he sprayed the spot. We watched the spot go from red to dark green. I remember one of us asking, "why is it green?" before we realized my grandpa had grabbed spray paint. Not carpet cleaner, spray paint. This caused my grandma to clench her chest with her hands, as she continued saying, "my carpet. My brand new carpet." In the end, the spray paint and nail polish all came out of the carpet, somehow. And no one was allowed to paint their nails on that carpet ever again.

There's the one night I spent the night with them. As I lay in bed in their spare bedroom, my grandpa was watching a Western in his room (next to the one I was staying in). My grandma, her emphysema restricting her breathing quite a lot at this point, slept upright in a reclining chair. Yelling from her chair, my grandma asked my grandpa to turn the damn TV down. My grandpa responded by quickly flicking off his TV and yelling back, "it's not even on! You're hearing things old woman!" My grandma apologized, I laid in bed holding back my laughter, and quietly giggled myself to sleep as I thought about what I had just seen unfold.

I Love Lucy is a classic show to watch whenever you're feeling down, but I rarely have to watch it. All I have to do is think of our own Lucy and Desi and I'm instantly smiling.