Lighting another cigarette after handing the first lit one to me, Grandma continued, “But as much as he loved her, her poor grammar got on his nerves real bad. He knowed that he could never bring her home to meet his prim and proper mother, a stiff-skirt schoolteacher type, don’t you know. Roland himself understood the desperate family situation your mother growed up in, causing the end of her education at grade eight—although, that was five grades more than I ever done. Even so, he was accepting of your mother the way she was.”
When I needed a break from Grandma’s storytelling, I concentrated on blowing the perfect smoke ring, but they never looked as good as Grandma’s, nor could I suck the smoke up through my nostrils like she could. Even so, the smoke ring ritual gave me a way to manage all of the mixed up feelings swirling around in my tummy.