The First Nudist
by Janice Daugharty
Copyright 2010 Janice Daugharty
First published in The Distillery, Summer 1996
It could have been the summer after the spring that my younger sister and I went to visit Gransallie in Florida and almost starved to death on one of her low-calorie diets, which I prefer to remember as a kind of pre-Easter fasting, rather than admit that my grandmother had once again failed.
To me, she was proudly stout and old-seeming in her fifties, corseted and caustic, a state grandly lending to authority that today would earn a woman the title of loud-mouthed slob.
I know it was several summers after Gransallie hauled us off to South Florida on a hunt for kin and happened up at the house of strangers and, out of stubborness, pretended for three days straight they were our cousins.
When remembering Gransallie, what marks time in my mind is usually some disaster--car wrecks and getting stomach-aching lost and tactless remarks made to people who wouldn't speak to her again if she told them they'd just won the Florida lottery.
Family-reunion time. Southeast Georgia. Wrights Chapel. Better times ahead but enough good times behind to warrant sweating out one whole, hot, gnat-swarmy day trying to out-talk and out-eat all the Walkers and relations to Walkers in the screened dining shelter overlooking the Walker graveyard (graveyard: humbler than a cemetery).