First they said, "No wind chimes outside the cottages. Three warnings will be given, then you are subject to eviction."
My Granny said, "Humph. I like my old bamboo windchime. I can't even reach it no more to take it down. It's gonna stay, dammit, and I will too."
I told Granny, "Not if they evict you, you won't. I can take it down."
She looked at me over her reading glasses, with that Look she has.
"If anyone's evicted, you can go with em, Sonny. I'm stayin put. Me and that damn windchime."
I said, "Granny, I don't even live here. C'mon. It's just a windchime."
She said, "And we're just a buncha old senior citizens in a QUOTE retirement community END QUOTE, and I, for one, am gonna keep whatever I want right here. Me included."
I sighed. I know Granny better than I used to know the song on The Mouseketeers' show. She'd keep her windchime alright, or die trying. I expected she might ask me to make a bunch of posters for some senior citizen revolt, so I left for the day. I hate the smell of spray paint, at least that's what I told myself. Truth was, I'd been in enough demonstrations in the past to last me the rest of my life.
Next day, before I went to see her, I wandered the entire length and breadth of that senior community. Sure enough, every cottage, even the apartments, had a windchime on its eave. No way was that new rule going to fly.
It was already more extinct than a single brain cell in the head of the oldest senior there.
Young girls worked in an office that promised "..a library, fitness equipment and a high-definition TV.." but I saw not one of those things. Not even a magazine.
Humph, I thought. Granny's right and this place isn't. Not by a long shot.
Granny had a new paper to show me this time.
It said, "No gardens in individual yards behind the cottages. We will provide you with planter boxes in a central area. Three warnings will be given, then you are subject to eviction."
Grandma waved an empty coffee cup around and had quite a lot to say about that.
"Have you seen them planter boxes?" she asked. "No? I did, and they look like bodies been already planted there. I ain't gonna be movin any damn tomato plant over any old Indian graves or somethin, believe you me." I believed her.
What she really meant was she'd keep all her own plants and the property managers could go to Hades, or much worse.
We sat in her garden together, drinking more thick coffee laced with cream.
Her garden was a beautiful place, extremely full of vibrant colors, scents and variety. A person who didn't know Granny would never guess those plants were what she called "acquired."
That meant she drove her old car across the street in the middle of the night and stole the plants she liked. What's a grandson to do? Tell his own Granny how to behave? OhGodNo! Not my Granny and not by me.
Because I thought she might be evicted, I went to see her often. She was always really nice.
It's just that a person couldn't tell her what to do or, especially, what not to do.
She had another notice to show me that weekend.
I opened it with dread while we sat under her stunted pear tree, the one with no fruit but with good shade. She got a boy at a box-store to load it in her car late one night, the boy completely unaware that the pear tree was "acquired."
This notice said, "No extra fencing around yards behind the cottages. There will be three warnings, then you are subject to eviction." Granny scoffed. She was very good at scoffing.
"Just last Spring you help nail up my privacy-wood. Anydamnbody could see in here without it! They could watch me cook and everythin. Humph! D'they think just 'cause we're a little older we don't like to walk around nekkid sometimes?"
"Sonny!" she said. It wasn't my name, but she always called me that. "What's wrong with you? Don't you ever wanna get comfy at your place?"
" 'Course I do. But I hate to hear you talk about it. I mean, I like to hear you talk, don't get me wrong. I just hate that part. And I didn't nail those wood screens there. I used a bunch of braided wires! If anyone ever asks you about that security fencing, you tell em I did it without a single nail driven in their rotten old fence."
"Rotten is right," Granny said. "I dunno if I wanna even live here much longer. These people are too damn old. Some hussy moved next door, and the only thing she says to me, and believe you me, I was polite as a hundred dollar bill, she says to me, she says, 'Oh, my. Do you always wear rainbow shoelaces? Do you know what a rainbow means these days?'
"Your Granny's smart, y'know so I ask her, 'Why and what?'
"She makes her mouth say, real slow and without a whisper, 'ho-mo-sex-u-al.' "
Then I knew what Granny would say and do.
"So now right here, I know I'm gonna stay til they take me out feet first and I'm gonna keep my stuff all over the damn place, and I'm gonna have my favorite grandbaby visitin me as often as he can. Right, Sonny?"
"Right, Granny," I said. "I'll bring Pete with me next time, maybe ask him to come in drag. We'll see if anyone can guess. I brought you another windchime, Gran. It chimes 'Amazing Grace' but I can't hear that for the life of me."