by Juliana Perry
I wish you could have met my Southern grandfather; he taught me my first waltz at 17 (drunk on margaritas in his farmhouse kitchen on my way to boarding school). To hear him speak was like tuning into Saturday morning cartoons and catching Foghorn Leghorn the rooster, sizing up the hens and "reachin' futha back into the coop for a cold bear." He was the epitome of the old south, not politically correct, he always salted his "bear;" something I thought needed to be done before you drank your Miller Genuine Draft for many years. The final trip I made at 25, to Maryland, he was teetering on the last debilitating legs of lung cancer. His four daughters gathered from as many corners of North America and drank to avoid reality and emotion, yet quietly vied for his attention. As I sat with him and loved him for his backwoods, old school, unacceptable ways, he sat up from his hospital bed in my aunt's billiards room, looked at me with a blue-eyed depth I've only seen since in my own son, placed his hand on my thigh, squeezed, and said clearly, "Aren't you getting kind of thick here?"
Juliana Perry is a single mom of three, a lover of all things wine, cheese and bread, a maintainer of all things house and home, a student of business and psychology, and a professional scheduler and multitasker. She is the author of We Take It For Granted.