56. Clomp, Clomp, Clomp

56. Clomp, Clomp, Clomp

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters

Clomp, Clomp, Clomp

I like long walks, especially when they’re taken by people who annoy me.

~Fred Allen

Okay, so I will be the only brave one in my family to admit this out loud: My brother has the worst taste in women in the world. He couldn’t pick a mate to save his life. Wife number one was just evil, wife number two was nuts, and wife number three only lasted a few months, so it’s hard to remember her at all. In between, there have been other women who have had their own peculiarities, too numerous to mention. Every time my brother calls my mom to tell her he thinks he has found “the one,” she just about loses it. And my brother is no spring chicken—he is in his sixties. Shouldn’t he know better?

But I think that this new one, wife number four, might be the prize winner. She is just, well, she is just the most obnoxious person on the planet. What was my brother thinking when he married her? She is very nice-looking, but she is very short. And to make up for this, she wears platform shoes with high heels. Huge platforms with huge heels. These shoes are impossible to walk in; they look like Frankenstein boots. She clomps around the house on these monster shoes. She makes so much noise and constantly trips over her own feet. And she lets out little yelps as she trips and falls down or bashes into the furniture. Clomp, clomp, clomp… yelp!

She has a teeny, tiny, squeaky, nails-on-the-chalkboard voice, and she talks constantly, even if there is no one around. When she speaks, she talks about herself in the third person and uses baby talk. “Gracie (her name) is getting a wittle bit hungry. Her wants some nummies. Gracie thinks she’ll go into the kitchen and make herself some lunchie, punchie. Does Stevie (my brother) Weavie want some lunchie, punchie, too?” Oh, gag me. This woman is in her sixties, but I want to yell at her to grow up—and shut up!

She is terribly nearsighted, but won’t wear her glasses. She goes to the market and shops by touch. She picks out what she thinks she needs. The only problem is that when she gets the stuff home and puts on her glasses, she is always surprised by what’s in the bag. She finds that she has bought all of the wrong things. Duh, all cans feel the same; you need to read the labels. But she wouldn’t be caught dead in the market wearing her glasses. Oh, no, not Gracie.

She is always breaking everything she touches. Dishes and glasses don’t last long at her house. Since she can’t see the tops of the kitchen counters, she constantly smashes things into the edges instead. She tries different recipes, but can’t read the amounts of the ingredients, so almost everything tastes terrible. But will she wear glasses or contacts? Noooo.

We were all together this past summer to celebrate my parents’ anniversary. Everyone traveled to my parents’ house in Oklahoma. The fiasco lasted four days. By the end of the first day, we all wanted to lock Gracie Wacie in a closet—in someone else’s house. We were so done with all of her quirks. She does try to help, but she is so clumsy that she is a danger to herself… and others. She decided that she would clear the dishes from the table, which was very nice. The only problem is that she took the plates before people were finished eating! “Where’s my plate?” Oh, if I only had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone ask that question. “Oh, you weren’t finished eating? Gracie didn’t know that. Sowwy.”

Gracie is an early riser. Every morning, she would be the first one up and dressed. We all knew she was awake because she put on her monster shoes first thing and made so much noise getting ready that it woke the rest of us up. “Gracie thinks she’ll wear this dress.” Clomp, clomp, clomp. “Gracie needs to put on her make-up.” Clomp, clomp, clomp. “What did Gracie do with her wittle wed sweater?” Clomp, clomp, clomp. “Gracie wants coffee.” Clomp, clomp, clomp. And down the stairs she goes. Clomp, clomp, clomp.

Since she is the first one in the kitchen, Gracie makes the coffee. And she makes the most horrible, disgusting, vile-tasting coffee in the whole world. It’s either too strong or too weak. Can’t she count? We have tried to sabotage her efforts, but she always finds a way to outsmart us. We hide the coffee; she finds it. We hide the filters; she doesn’t use them. We turn off the water to the kitchen sink. She fills the coffee pot from the bathroom sink. Somehow, she always manages to prevail. She always spills coffee grounds all over the counters and the floor. Does she clean up? No, because she doesn’t have her glasses on so she can’t see what she’s done. Coffee’s ready, and Gracie pours herself a cup. She uses cream and sugar, but can she close the refrigerator door when she has put the cream away? Why should she when some poor soul will come along and do it for her?

What does Gracie do while she is having her coffee? She reads the newspaper. Or rather, she scatters it, page by page by page, all over the house. By the time anyone else tries to read it, it’s just not possible. Page one is in the kitchen; page two might be in the living room; page three was probably ripped up and used for who knows what. The entire paper has been demolished so no one else can read it. Oh, and she rips pages out of magazines if she finds something she wants to save. Just try reading a magazine with pages missing. You know, it’s kind of like reading a magazine in a doctor’s office.

Gracie is a kleptomaniac. Is it on purpose? I don’t think so, but she is just so oblivious that she doesn’t think. We have lost many towels. Where do they go? What does she do with them? Who knows? We’ve asked her, but she pretends she doesn’t know what we are talking about. We think she puts them in her suitcase, but when she gets home and can’t remember where those extra towels came from, she throws them out. My mom has taken to putting old ratty towels or the towels we use to bathe the dog in her bathroom so that when she steals them, we won’t care.

Four days are up, and it’s finally time for Gracie Wacie to go. Thank God! What will she leave for us to find this time? She always leaves something. (Maybe it’s in trade for the towels she takes.) Her earrings, her make-up, her shoes, her underwear…

We always walk Stevie Weavie and Gracie Wacie to the car when they leave. And why is that? Well, it’s not because we are nice or polite. Not a chance. We just want to be sure that they actually get in the car and leave. Bye bye.

~Madison Thomas

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