Here we are again at that dreaded time of year, when little old ladies grumble and little old men gripe and young and old alike are aggravated, irritated and altogether thrown off kilter.
(Cue the dramatic music: DA DUH DUH...)
The time change.
That's right. We "fall back" for the end of Daylight Saving Time on Saturday night -- technically, 2 a.m. Sunday -- this weekend (and it's a full moon, no less).
Now begins the complaining about how it gets dark too early, the discussions of whether DST should be ended altogether, and the battle for some of us against the instinct to go to bed when darkness commences at 5 p.m.
My grandma, Velva Weaver, hated the time change, fall or spring.
For weeks, as I recall, she'd talk about "fast time" versus "slow time." It's become a running joke in our family.
Sure, timepieces are changed, but what about our psyches? It may be 6 p.m. as per the kitty cat clock in my office, but just after the fall time change, it "feels like" 7 p.m.
People across the country wake up an hour earlier. Some folks end up an hour late -- or is it an hour early? -- for church on Sunday mornings after the fall or spring time change.
Grandma talked about it a lot. But I think she was ahead of her time -- if you'll pardon the pun.
Studies have shown the effects of less daylight in the wintertime on humans, some more than others. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, with the minimizing of sunlight pushing some folks into a kind of winter depression.
It throws my internal "equilibrium" off for a week or so. The fall change isn't so bad, but the spring one really knocks me for a loop. I suspect Grandma experienced the same thing.
But the time change always makes me think of her. She is one of the most interesting characters I've ever known.
Now, we all have our unique personalities. But some folks just seem more interesting than others, and that's what I mean when I say, "She's quite a character."
Grandma Weaver had lots of sayings and habits that my family still repeats, with laughter and love. "Fast time" versus "slow time" is one of those "Grandma kinds of things."
Or, when she got a pair of new shoes, she often didn't want to wear them -- because she didn't want to get the bottoms dirty.
Sure, that elicits a chuckle. But from someone who lived through the Depression and often had little financial means, you can understand it. A person might only get one new pair of shoes each year. It's understandable that you'd want to "preserve" them as long as possible.
Little things like the way she would phrase something endeared her to me. She once wrote a note to me and said something about how she and her cat were doing: "Zip and I are fine, except when he flushes the toilet. Then we are on the outs."
She gave a few "lectioneers" in her time when someone needed a good talking to. She educated me on the ins and outs of cats and bad luck. She'd been known to turn her car around and go another way if a black cat crossed her path. She contended that another option was to "X them out" on the car dash (take your finger and draw an 'X' on the dashboard).
I once asked her if that applied to only black cats or all cats (she knew I was teasing her). She said she would "X" all of them out, just to be sure.
I was riding my motorcycle once and a cat crossed the road a ways in front of me. I didn't know the protocol for trying to "X" him out on a motorcycle, so I just made an "X" with my gloved finger on the speedometer and chuckled at myself and in fond memory of Grandma.
Now, she certainly is just one of the real characters I have known so far in my life. My mom's mother, Grandma Edna Bauer, was one of a kind, too. But they seemed so different.
At Grandma Weaver's, we could expect to eat hot dogs and chips, with Little Debbie oatmeal pies for dessert. She was kind of our "in-town" grandma.
Not so at Grandma Bauer's -- and I wouldn't call her "quite a character," yet she was fascinating to me. Maybe I'm just a sucker for stories -- appropriate given my career -- and the everyday people who star in them.
Anyway, she was the quintessential farm woman -- taking care of the chickens, tending to a garden, canning all kinds of foods, and making homemade pies for meals and fundraisers at church.
She was more quiet, more stern with us kids. When we would lay down for our naps, she sat in a nearby rocking chair with a yardstick in hand (she never used it). She and my mom made us clothing, and she made each of her grandchildren at least one quilt, something to treasure throughout the years. I still sleep under mine each night.
It seemed that you could never catch up with Grandma Bauer. She was always a step ahead.
I stayed overnight with her one time, and about 6 a.m. (fast time or slow time? I don't remember), I woke up, strained to listen, and heard nothing in the quiet house. "I'm up before Grandma!" I thought smugly and gleefully to myself. I quietly dressed and headed for the kitchen.
I walked into the room, and there stood Grandma, in front of the stove.
"How many waffles would you like?" she asked.
Lesson learned: You can't get up earlier than Grandma Bauer.
But my grandmas are just two of the many characters I've learned to appreciate in life.
There was Carolyn, the receptionist in the newspaper office where I worked in Houston -- and everyone knows that the "receptionist" -- or "administrative assistant" or whatever title you want to give them -- runs the show in any office. She had long fake fingernails that I would have sworn would keep her from typing, but "tap, tap, tap" away she did.
She'd bring her dog Brandy to the office each Friday, where a doggie day bed in leopard print awaited her. I think Brandy had a wardrobe more extensive than what I've ever had in my life.
God bless Carolyn -- what a character!
Take a look around you -- and back into your memory -- and enjoy all the individuals you've known. Some may be more "characters" than others, but diversity among humans is what makes this life so much fun.
Now, I've got a deadline to meet. Those are always on "fast time." Of course, since we go back to "slow time" this week, maybe that won't hold true this weekend...? I know I should just look at the clock and go by that time, but it doesn't "feel" like it should be dark at 5 p.m. yet.
Oh, whatever. Sheesh.