Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture

Freezer Burned

Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

It's raining. I made a potato leek soup in my instant pot. Haven't heard from my mother since earlier this week when it was all I'm in hell and I want to die. Meals on Wheels hadn't started quite yet and none of us knew what the food was going to be like. She hasn't got much appetite anyway. We cleaned out her refrigerator and freezer unearthing chicken from 2007. I tried to tell well-meaning friends not to do anymore grocery shopping for her. I was told to quit being passive-aggressive.

On other fronts, the doctor okayed progress on my eye, so I can drive, but still have to sleep at 30% until further notice. Last week sometime, through the medium of a picture of an invitation on messenger on my phone, we learned that there was a Grandparents Day happening at the elementary school, and since my eye is boogered-up and I have trouble reading, I had to zoom in on it so that I could make out the schedule, the different grade levels, where were we, and poof! there's 5th grade at 10:15. Just show up. And nobody else was invited, only grandparents because they didn't have enough room. That's great, something to do on Friday before we pick him up and bring him home as per usual, and he plays a mean clarinet.

But here's what really happened. As we're walking up the sidewalk toward the entrance I notice a short stooped older man, and a tall older woman, and I think to myself crap. It's the other grandparents. I had totally spaced out, thought we'd have him all to ourselves. Just as quickly I drop that idea, because my current zeitgeist is one of Empathy and Inclusion—even if my brother thinks that papou is a war criminal because he flew bombing raids over Cambodia and voted for _rump. Never mind, he has agreed that he will not confront my daughter-in-law over this; he simply avoids the man at family gatherings.

Oh and did I mention that our grandson in his innocence told us a couple of weeks ago that he's going to have to get baptized because his new little cousin who is 10 years younger than him is going to be raised Catholic and he's supposed to be her Godfather. Terrific. My sons are all atheist, as I am, my old man is, in fact I'm trying to think of somebody in the family who isn't an atheist. (Besides my mother of course, who put down in her Health Directive under religion that she is Catholic and she doesn't want anything done with her body for four days after death. None of us can figure out what the heck that means.)

But I thought that was one of the things that was attractive about my son's intended back in the day--that they were on the same page about religion. No, I find out all these years later that it seems with the arrival of the new baby, and the mom is apparently Catholic, latent religiosity is coming out. My grandson says his mom and dad are fighting about it because she is taking her father's side in this, and I'm thinking well what the fuck. Although, wouldn't be the first time he fabricated and/or embroidered a Story.

So, I give Papou a big hug and I give Grandma a big hug and say hey how you doing, as if this were an everyday conversation. And we wander around the school's hallways trying to find the Substitute School room where our grandson is supposed to be stashed because his teacher is sick. I should put that in quotes because apparently this guy is a little bit of a flake and it seems sometimes in the past he has just disappeared for a couple weeks, leaving his charges in the care of substitutes.

Also, nobody seems to know what the deuce they're doing, we're sent to the kindergarten classroom on the first floor; she says nope they're not here she has no idea what we're talkin' about. But then our boy shows up and says yeah half of us are here and half upstairs, but he'll show us what to do, and he is very excited that there are cookies which he insists we try.

But here's the fun part. After all of this, I'm checking my watch periodically to see how close to 10:30 we are which is when the music starts, and we enter the multi-purpose room... the kids are up there on stage, each with a xylophone, or marimba, varying sizes, sitting on the floor. Not a sign of a clarinet—I guess that's for band? Anyway, the music teacher is nowhere in evidence. Neither are the expected hordes of grandparents. The four of us sit alone in the front row on the left, and watch our boy intently practicing, right in front of us. Music teacher arrives, starts the show with a little keyboard on his lap and they run through golden oldies from their years with him.

As the next half hour goes by, we see the typical range of boredom, involvement, shyness, not too much anxiety, these kids are older presumably past that. By the end half a dozen more grandparents have shown up, but it's hardly respectable. I sing along when I recognize the song—one of them is Kermit the Frog's Theme song I can't remember what it is off the top of my head, but I knew all the words when they started singing, and that one from Rent, about the minutes. And I applaud vigorously. Oh hang on I just remembered: the Rainbow Connection. Sweet.

When the kids are busy getting off the stage at the end we've got a chance to say hi to the music teacher but I hang back. I hear Snippets of conversation about auditions? And I perk up and it comes to me that this is again something new. He's going to be switching schools. I know that because he's going to be in sixth grade and there is no sixth grade where presently is, so they have to find a new school and apparently they're going for a Performing Arts Charter School. Hence the audition.

But there's also a lottery, so the music teacher's very happy to recommend our grandson because he's shown himself to be an apt student, but he hastens to tell us it even if he doesn't get in there are other places that have decent music programs, and maybe even better academics.

This is all great, I'm happy to anticipate taking our boy home with us and getting to chat about this and other things, and the whole business of competition with the other Grandparents is fading away. I got us a couple of slide whistles to fool around with this year at the Christmas Eve party as a surprise, so I'm looking forward to that.

Tears-crAfter the year I've had ... broken foot, fouled up retina, ancient mother repeatedly on the edge of giving up only to drag herself up off the precipice (thankfully not taking us down with her, but by fucking God not for lack of trying), generalized sense of helplessness followed by bouts of retail therapy.  Today, clothes shopping with my 45 year old son who claims that wearing brown shoes with navy pants is combining a warm color with a cold color. I told him if it's good enough for Stephen Colbert should be good enough for him.

Bring on the binge-watching, bitch! I'm pretty much in the mood for foolishness.

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Claudine Jones has had a long career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer.
She writes a monthly column and is a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2019 Claudine Jones
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine




January 2019

Volume 19 Issue 8

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