The Show Must Go On.

17 Sep

I know the quote. I’ve said it, even, but I’ve never hated the phrase, “The show must go on” more than I do tonight.

You see, tonight at about 7:30, my 92-year old Granny passed away and I’m 1,700 miles away from home selling t-shirts. I’ve been in this position before – I was on tour doing Junie B. Jones when my Grandpa passed away four years ago – and I feel just as helpless as I did back then. Add guilt to that, too. A lot of guilt. Guilt because I can’t simply drop everything and fly back home. I didn’t even know she was in the hospital until last night and before we’d even had a chance to try to figure out a Plan B for someone to manage Kinky Boots, she was gone.

I’m naturally very sad that my grandmother is gone, but even more than that, I’m sad that I can’t be home for my Dad. He and the rest of my family have apparently agreed that I shouldn’t try to come home for the funeral – they all know how difficult that would prove to be – but the idea of not being there overwhelms me with guilt. A person typically only gets four grandparents in their life and to miss her funeral seems so disrespectful. I will likely be the only grandchild not there – all so I can sell some t-shirts and shot glasses to people who have no idea how hard it is to smile through all of the feelings that I’m feeling right now.

My Granny – Ruth Helene Craig Bratton – wasn’t the warm and fuzzy kind of grandma you’d see on an ABC Family Christmas Special. She didn’t typically invite us kids over to play or take us to the zoo or the Ice Capades or to spend the night (though, to her credit, she and my Grandpa did take me to a cave in Indiana once, which is still a lovely memory). She didn’t bake cookies and read stories and she wasn’t overly affectionate – she wasn’t much of a hugger. But I knew that she loved me and my cousins. She may not have been very demonstrative with her affections, but I knew. Dad says she was a wonderful mother, but she was older when the grandkids came along. She was often ill, whether real or imagined, and so a lot of what I remember about her revolved around going to doctors and taking pills and having surgeries, but I also remember going to Granny and Grandpa’s mobile home (Grandpa apparently lost money on a house once and swore never to buy one again) and sitting at the bar, coloring in the coloring books that she kept for me and the other kids in the hall closet while her favorite Box Car Willie or Conway Twitty 8-track played. I remember the Swiss Miss hot cocoa she would make for me, summer or winter – it didn’t matter. I remember the bowl of sour ball, butterscotch and green peppermint hard candies, the seemingly hundreds of tubes of cherry Chap Stick she had on the table between their two recliners and the excitement I felt the few times I did spend the night with them because I knew the next morning I would get a big bowl of Smurfberry cereal (she herself had an affinity for Cap’n Crunch). I remember crossword puzzles and seek-and-finds and her false teeth popping out of her mouth and how important it was for her to get her hair done, regardless of how she was feeling. I still crave her beef and noodles recipe, even though she hadn’t made it in decades and I am sad that I never learned to make it myself. And you would never find a bigger fan of University of Louisville basketball on the planet. That’s the Granny I want to remember – not the sick, worn down woman I saw when I was home a few weeks ago who was just biding time til she got to see my Grandpa again.

Smurfberry Crunch cereal was always in the pantry at Granny and Grandpa's when I'd come spend the night.

Smurfberry Crunch cereal was always in the pantry at Granny and Grandpa’s when I’d come spend the night.

There’s a story my Mom tells about when Granny and Grandpa came to visit us in England back in the early 80’s. Granny went into a store and bought something with traveler’s cheques and when the girl behind the counter asked if they were sterling, Granny answered, in her very loud southern Indiana accent, “Lands’ sakes no, they ain’t stolen! I bought these in the U-nited States of America!” That was my Granny. I love her and I will miss her and I hope that she and my Grandpa are young and healthy and together again up in that mobile home park in the sky.

Me and my grandparents at their mobile home circa 1983.

Me and my grandparents at their mobile home circa 1983.

 

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2 Responses to “The Show Must Go On.”

  1. Nina September 17, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Such sweet memories of your Granny

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Most Beautiful Thing In The World | Confessions of a Merch Whore - February 29, 2016

    […] to tell Ricky is that he is also one of the highlights of my time with Kinky Boots. As I’ve written before, my grandmother died only three weeks into the tour and I wasn’t able to go home for […]

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