Here is an old photo of my grandparents. This is before I was alive I presume, so they seem like people who I don’t know. This picture to me is reminiscent of American Gothic. But it is Canadian Gothic, all that’s missing is the pitchfork. I am guessing they are in Winnipeg, but I am unsure, it isn’t a photo that she showed me or talked about.They look tough and street wise. My grandfather owned his own egg delivery business, Ideal Produce. He was also a mean drunk and I never knew about it. He had quit drinking by the time I knew him and would silently wait for my baba and I in the car when we went on shopping trips to Eaton’s or Hudson’s Bay Company. Sometimes we would be shopping for his underwear which would make me giggle and say, “why can’t he buy his own boxers?”
Why not indeed.
I often think of my laughing younger self, as I am picking out my own husbands boxers. The real reason in our household is that he would keep wearing them until the holes turn into one giant hole. One giant hole that wouldn’t cover his freckled backside.
And I suppose if I choose the underpants I get to select the ones I like. The colour and the cut. Because really in this life sometimes its the little things that count, like how comfortable you are under your clothes. The things that are hidden from those on the outside world. Like my Baba’s life with an alcoholic. It was something she never revealed to me in all our years together. All of our long nights playing old maid around the formica table to the comforting roar of her Fridgedaire. Or in later years all of our lunch dates at Grapes on Main where I knew her favourite dish was Fettucine Alfredo. We went there often, because I knew she loved that meal and I always had the same thing too. Chicken caesar salad.
We met over lunch and I told her about my little problems, such as the papers that were due for a university class or how my boyfriend was thoughtless and bought me an alarm clock for my birthday, “so I wouldn’t be late,” he told me thoughtlessly. But maybe I didn’t really tell her everything either. I just skimmed my life from the top. I told her what I thought she might be interested in hearing. Just like she didn’t tell me everything either.