Summer at Grandma's


By Brian

15-year-old Matt was hoping that this will be the last summer he had to be shipped off to his Grandmother's house for the summer. Matt just finished 8th grade and thinks he is old enough to stay home by himself while his parents go to work. He thinks he remembers hearing that his brother, Todd, stopped going to grandma's when he was 15.

"Mom, do I really have to go to Grandma's this summer? Aren't I old enough to stay home alone while you and Dad go to work?"

"Matt, honey, this will be your last summer. Since Todd stopped going to Grandma's when he was in high school, it is only fair that we give you the same treatment. Plus, you always like going to Grandma's." Sandy pleaded.

Just then Todd walked in. Todd is 21 and in his senior year of college. He is an All-American track star for Penn State and hopes to possibly try out for the Olympics this summer. Todd is 6'2" and has a great runner's body, not an ounce of fat on his body, good musculature, but not a bodybuilder by any means.

"Hey squirt," Todd says to Matt as he punches his younger brother's arm. Todd and Matt didn't really get along. For the most part Todd, being the older brother, would always, more than playfully, push him around. Todd needed to make sure that Matt understood he was the older brother and made the rules. Todd easily accomplished this because he towered over Matt by six inches (Matt was only 5'6").

"Todd," his mom asked, "Matt and I were just talking about him going to Grandma's this summer. Matt is getting older and doesn't really want to go to Grandma's but is still too young to be by himself. If you will be around to watch him during the day, then your father and I wouldn't need to ship him off."

A glimmer of hope came to Matt's eye. He hoped that Todd would do this one thing for his little brother. That glimmer quickly faded when he heard Todd's response.

"I can't Mom. I am starting my internship this summer and will be working just as much as you and Dad. Plus, I wouldn't want to deprive Matt of the yearly ritual that every Connors boy needs to go through. Anyway, this should be his last summer. Grandma will be so disappointed if Matt doesn't finish out his rite of passage," Todd said mockingly while shooting a sarcastic grin at Matt, just to rub it in. "I need to get to work anyway, no real time to chit chat. Have fun this summer Matty (Matt hated to be called that). When we come up to spend some time with Grandma, you can tell me all about your summer."

As Todd walked out the back door to his car, Matt was really angered by Todd's comments. "Why does he get away with things like that? Just because he is older doesn't mean he can treat me like that. I can't wait until I am older and bigger than he is so I can show him who is the real boss," Matt thought to himself.

Matt had no choice but to take his brother's torments. He is older and could always squash any attempts that Matt made at any type of retaliation. A 5'6", 115 lbs, 15 year old is no match for a 6'2", 190 lbs, 21-year-old college athlete. He wished that puberty would hit him. This way, Todd wouldn't have such an easy time and Matt could at least put up a fight. He thought that maybe this summer was THE summer.

That afternoon, Matt got in the car with his Mom and Dad to drive to Grandma's house. It wasn't all THAT bad. At least Matt would get to spend some time with his long time friend Josh. Matt and Josh only saw each other during summers because of the distance between them. Matt and his parent's lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia while Matt's Grandma and Josh lived about 6 hours away in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Matt began to think of things that he and Josh could do together. This lifted Matt's spirits somewhat.

The Dodge Caravan pulled in the driveway at around 6 PM. Matt's stomach growled a little. He asked, "When are we going to eat? 6 hours in a car makes a guy hungry." Matt had noticed that he had been hungry a lot lately, which was a sign that this summer would be THE summer he had hoped for. "You won't be hungry this summer Matt, I will make sure of that," Grandma said as she came out of the house to greet her son, daughter-in-law, and youngest grandson. "Come here and give me a hug and a kiss." Matt obliged.

Matt and his family entered the house to find a huge table covered with food. "Mom, you know you didn't have to cook all this for us," Randy, Matt's father, replied. "Nonsense, you have been on the road for six hours. You can't tell me you are not hungry. Sit down and eat." Matt didn't need anymore hints; he sat down and dug in. Soon, the rest of the family followed.

Conversation over dinner was the normal family banter. Sandy told her mother-in-law about her promotion at work, Randy filled her in on Todd's internship, and Matt talked about his accomplishments at school. After all the catching up was done, Grandma asked Matt, "Matt sweetie, can I count on you to do some chores this summer, you know, mow the lawn, do some fix-it projects around the house, run errands for me?" "MMM HUH," he answered her with his mouth full. Matt sure did love his grandma's cooking. "Great, thanks a lot. All I will be able to offer you as payment for your services is good healthy food anytime you want." Matt thought this would be acceptable, given it would be a much needed change of pace from his mother's less than adequate cooking and fast food meals. "Well Mom, thanks for the supper but we really ought to be heading back home now. It is getting late and 9 a.m. comes early when you don't get much sleep," Randy said to his mother as he gave her a hug and kiss. "Make sure you are extra good for your Grandma Matt. Do everything she says and asks." Matt replied, "Yes mom, don't worry about me." After they said their goodbyes, Randy and Sandra headed back for Philly.

Matt woke up the next morning to a note on the kitchen table from his Grandma:

"Gone to play bridge this morning with my sorority sisters. Here's a protein shake for breakfast. I should be home by lunch. Make yourself at home. Josh should be home if you wanted to see him. Love, Grandma."

Matt thought it was weird that his Grandma left him a protein shake for breakfast. He began thinking if his Grandma had an ulterior motive this summer. He remembered that Matt looked different after his last summer at Grandma's but couldn't exactly remember how he looked; he was only six at the time. He quickly dispelled that thought as he drank his breakfast. •

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