When I was a little boy, my parents used to drop me off some afternoons at my grandmother Gertrude's. Before they would leave, my father would always eye my mother's mother suspiciously, even though Grandma Gertie was just a diminutive eighty-year-old woman wearing an apron over a faded flowered smock and sporting a short, white-gray, old lady perm. Supposedly back in the 1920s, my Grandma Gertie had been a notoriously wild flapper, dancing in all the big nightclubs of the time. But in front of my father, she now moved very slowly, and smiled, offering half-baked, salted, black licorice cookies which tasted oddly like sweat-soaked running shoes.
As soon as my parents were gone, my grandmother would quickly throw on some satin number while downing shots of gin, and then would invite the mail man in. Soon her street would be clogged with two dozen postal trucks, the stereo in her house would be blaring disco music and my Grandma Gertie would be dirty dancing with all the city postal workers. I'd cry then, scared out of my mind, as my grandmother would throw herself from the chandelier into the waiting arms of her mail men, screaming, "Special Delivery!" She'd usually try to kiss someone on the mouth then, before kicking everyone out, and consoling me with one of her stinky black licorice cookies as she made sure her dress was still covering her in all the right places. I miss her.
When my parents would pick me up at the end of the day, my grandmother would always be back in her flowered smock and apron, moving about the house ever so slowly. As we would leave, my father would never stop eyeing her suspiciously, especially if a pair of panties suddenly fell from the chandelier. Grandma Gertie would usually offer a small laugh then, adding, "I haven't seen these in years."