Lori Borgman finds the funny in ev­ery­day life, writ­ing from the heart­land of the US. Now, if she could just find her car keys…

Friday - - Contents -

A piece of jew­ellery that has su­per­hero-like qual­i­ties and can keep the kids un­der con­trol? Our colum­nist Lori Borgman has one.

When we gave my mother a grandma neck­lace years ago, we never dreamed a woman could get so much mileage out of a sim­ple gold chain and five lit­tle fig­urines.

Mom loved wear­ing the neck­lace. She said it was a way to keep the grand­kids close to her heart. The thing was, you never knew how many grand­kids were close to her heart. Some days all five might be on the chain; other days only three or four.

‘I see one of the grand­kids is miss­ing, Mom. What hap­pened?’

‘Your brother’s youngest smarted off. I took him off the chain un­til he straight­ens out.’

If one of the grand­kids got cheeky with her, she took them off the neck­lace. She didn’t re­ally take them off, but she would fling their fig­urine around to the back of the chain. Swing­ing in style one minute, gone from glory the next. She told which­ever kid had been act­ing up that he would be able to come back to the front of the neck­lace and join the oth­ers when he straight­ened out. She was one of those ma­tri­archs who knew how to hold a crowd.

Her an­tics with the grandma neck­lace were sec­ond only to the Great Pil­low Ca­per. Mom and Dad, com­pletely de­void of all ra­tio­nal­ity, rented a huge van to take 11 of us a fair dis­tance to a fam­ily re­union. It was a tight fit, el­bows in one an­other’s rib cages, win­dow space at a pre­mium. Squab­bles mounted on the drive home. A dispute en­sued be­tween a few kids over a pil­low.

Grandma de­manded the pil­low be passed up front to her and an­nounced she would ‘dis­pose’ of the mat­ter once and for all. She low­ered her win­dow. Then raised it; then low­ered it. The kids were spell­bound – in fact we all were. And then some­one yelled, ‘Do it, Grandma! Show ’em what you can do!’

Of course, she wouldn’t re­ally throw a pil­low out of a ve­hi­cle win­dow, which would be both il­le­gal and haz­ardous, but it did keep the kids at rapt at­ten­tion. The fight­ing stopped im­me­di­ately. Those kids, now all adults, are ex­cep­tion­ally well-be­haved on long car-trips but pre­fer not to travel with pil­lows.

Be­ing that the grandma ba­ton has been passed to the next gen­er­a­tion, it only seemed fit­ting that I, too, have a means of hold­ing a crowd. I now have a grandma neck­lace. There are nine lit­tle fig­urines on the chain. The grands know that I love wear­ing it and love keep­ing

She told which­ever kid had been ACT­ING UP that he’d be able to come back to the front of the NECK­LACE when he straight­ened out. She was one of those ma­tri­archs who knew how to HOLD A CROWD

them close to my heart. They also know that jump­ing out of clos­ets in or­der to hear me scream, or com­ment­ing about the wrin­kles around my eyes, will get them re­moved from the neck­lace.

Pe­ri­od­i­cally, chaos erupts when we are all to­gether, an in­sti­ga­tor will run over, check the neck­lace to make sure he’s still in place, then take off yelling, ‘I’m still on the neck­lace!’

‘For now you are! Don’t push it!’

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