Grandma was an interesting lady

Grant McGee

Grant McGee

By Grant McGee

Local columnist

“I don’t know if I ever told you but I have great-grandma’s Tarot cards.” It was my oldest daughter on the other end of the phone. We were having our weekly chat.

“Which great-grandma are you talking about?” I asked her. I immediately thought of my mother’s mother. I couldn’t imagine it was my father’s mother.

“And there’s a note. It reads ‘Madame’s Tarot cards,’” she said.

“Ah,” I said. “There’s your answer. That’s your grandfather’s mother.”

It was the one from the high Appalachians who’d sit in her easy chair smoking a filter-less cigarette telling stories of long ago.

“Madame” was my mother’s nickname for her mother-in-law. That’s another long story for another time.

“When we’re finished talking send me a picture,” I said.

Later on a photo of an ancient deck of tarot cards arrived on my phone. They were yellowed, the images on each one done in a style of years gone by.

“Well,” I told The Lady of the House later in the day, “Not only did my grandma smoke The Marijuana, she read Tarot cards.”

“What are you on about now?” asked The Lady of the House.

I told her of the ancient memento.

“She was quite the character,” I said. “She sat at a card table, fortune-telling with her Tarot cards, cigarette smoke winding up around her turban.”

“Turban?” said The Lady of the House.

“Didn’t old fortune-tellers wear turbans?”

“Just because there’s a deck of Tarot cards doesn’t mean your grandmother used them,” said The Lady of the House. “No more than if people rummaging through our stuff found that clarinet you bought at a yard sale would think you played it like Benny Goodman.”

“Well, I’d like to think she used them,” I said. “And a turban. Wonder why she never did a reading for me?”
“Oh sweetie,” said The Lady of the House, “Your grandma didn’t need to do any fortune-telling to see where you were going.”

Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him a his blog: