Ruby Red was born out of grief. She’s nine. She’s spunky. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She appeared out of the blue and stole the first line of my next novel. She took off running and I’ve been tagging along ever since.

It’s difficult to make sense of life after both your sister and brother die within a few months of each other like Ruby’s did. Her whole world turned upside down so Ruby turned to blogging to try and put things “right” again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ruby Red: My Grandma

My grandma wants a convertible for her birthday in March. She only wants a red one ‘n it has to be a sports car too.  Grandpa just rolls his eyes when she starts talkin’ bout it. She even got a connectin’ thing to hook up her iPod to the car radio so she can listen to her favorite rock ‘n roll songs  ’n sing along. She’s the only grandma I know who even has a iPod. She likes goin’ to the movies but mostly likes the ones that come in the mail. Her favorite movie is an old one with lots a singin’ in it called The Music Man. Sometimes she watches it on the TV but mostly she watches it on her laptop with her head set so she don’t bother Grandpa. She’s watched that movie ‘bout a zillion times already ’n she says it’s a happy movie that makes her cry joy tears ever time.

Grandma won’t have no rockin’ chair either cause she says she’s not old enough yet. Sometimes she does line dancin’ down at the senior center ‘n sometimes she plays Mah Jongg with her lady friends. After their games they sip on gin martinis. Grandma says that the people who like gin like the springtime better’n the whole rest a the year. “In springtime,” Grandma says, “I can take you for a ride in my new red convertible with the top down ‘n the radio blarrin’.” I asked her where we would go ‘n she said, “Anywhere your sweet heart wants to go.” I asked if she’d take Jessie Mobley too ‘n she said, “The more the merrier, honey-pie.”

Grandma cried more than anybody when Loraine ‘n then Rubin died.  She said she cried cause children should be the last to die…after their grandparents ‘n their mama ‘n daddy. Mama said, “Life is not fair.” Then Grandma wiped her eyes on her white hankie ‘n said, “Tracey (that’s my mama), life is too fair!” We all stopped ‘n stared, waitin’ to hear what Grandma thought was so fair ‘bout children dyin’.

Well, Grandma took in a big breath ‘n looked straight at Mama. “Remember when Loraine was born ‘n those heart doctors said she had bout as much chance a makin’ it to her first birthday as a mouse in a cat’s mouth? Well she lived thirteen years! And Rubin! You didn’t want nothin’ but girls but you fell in love with that little rascal the minute you laid eyes on him ‘n pretty soon you was braggin’ bout his boyish charm. You had the gift of a perfect son who kept you ‘n Ray (that’s my daddy) on your toes with all his questions bout science ‘n how everthing in the whole world worked.”

We was all cryin’ hard by then but Grandma kept on talkin’ right through her own tears. “Look at Ruby. She went out ‘n got herself a best friend. When Loraine ‘n Rubin was still here she was shy ‘n kept to herself but no more.” Grandma stopped to blow her nose. She looked at me. “Darlin’, don’t you see that Jessie Mobley is your rainbow? And I bet you’re hers too. You know you don’t have to be related to be sisters. I can tell that you are sisters in your hearts.” Everbody sat tight cause we knew Grandma wadn’t done. Sure ‘nough she took a deep breath ‘n kept on sayin’ all that was in her heart to say. “Just cause somethin’ bad happens don’t mean somethin’ good won’t come of it.”

When Grandma was done you coulda heard a pin drop on the carpet. Mama ‘n Daddy just stared at Grandma like she’d said somethin’ sour. But then they looked at each other. Mama nodded ‘n Daddy went ‘n got that trunk with all Loraine’s ‘n Rubin’s stuff—their toys ‘n trophies, their pictures ‘n report cards ‘n baby books. Mama gave me Rubin’s ‘n my birthday picture from last year ‘n told me I could hang it in my room if I wanted to. I hugged that picture to my heart ‘n just bawled. Grandma came over ‘n hugged me. “It’s okay to miss them…but just their bodies died, honey—not their souls. They don’t want you to be sad darlin’. They’re up there with your Daddy’s mama ‘n daddy ‘n Jessie Mobley’s brother, Ty. Can’t you just see Grannie and Poppa huggin’ them ‘n tickelin’ them until they can’t stop laughin’?”


I could see Grannie ‘n Poppa makin’ a fuss ‘n smilin’ like they used to do with me but it didn’t make me feel no better. I took the picture a Rubin ‘n me ‘n set it on the table by my bed. I could hear Grandma ranblin’ on so I touched that picture ‘n said real soft like, “Rubin, I’m gonna try not bein’ mad at you for bein’ the only kid on that dern bus that died. I guess you had a reason for goin’ but I wish you coulda waited till you were at least ninety-nine.”  

Rest In Peace, Rubin

4 comments:

Beatriz McDavid said...

So sweet! Love it!

Rick Bylina said...

I bet Grandma loves "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night.

Shelia Rudesill said...

Thanks, again!

Shelia Rudesill said...

I can here it playing on her iPod right now! Do you think she'll get her red convertible on her birthday?