Tuesday, March 27, 2012


This week's challenge: Check out the third definition of cheap (below), and use the word exactly as it appears, in no less than 33 and no more than 333 words.
     b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities 

It looked positively elegant, hanging there in the sun. The coat was a dark orange that reminded her of the leaves on the lawn in fall. It had chocolate brown buttons and was trimmed with golden fur.

Her grandma and big sister, Beth, were, as always, hand-in-hand as they went through the next rack of clothes.  They were looking at little t-shirts, more appropriate for the summer weather. But Tess was irresistibly drawn to the coat.

Grandma looked up and around, clearly annoyed. “Where is that girl?”

“Here I am, Grandma!” She called, standing proudly beside her find. “Look what I found! Isn’t it pretty? Look at the fur!”

“Geez, Tess! Your taste is so cheap. Let’s go!” As Grandma led Beth past the orange coat, Tess couldn’t miss her sister’s smirk.

“That’s not really fur. Not at a sidewalk sale,” Beth said. Her big sister was always more sophisticated. She was, after all, a woman of 9 to Tess’ mere 7½.


That long ago village sidewalk sale popped into Tess’ head decades later as she slipped into her favorite burnt orange car coat. Reminiscing about Grandma was never fun. There weren’t any Hallmark moments.

"Look at your knees! Tess, you could get dirty just standing still."
"Geez, Tess, do you have to drown your potatoes in gravy?" 
“Your voice is always too loud, Tess.”
"That's not music, Tess, it's noise."
“Don’t wear your hair like that, Tess. You have ugly ears.”
"How can you waste your time reading about pop stars, Tess?"
"Geez, Tess, stop jiggling your leg! Why can't you ever just sit still?"

Tess was 13 when her Grandma died. Today, thinking about the formidable older woman, Tess wanted to ask her, “How could a little girl annoy you so much? I was a child, for Christ’s sake. And I wanted to love you.”

Tess certainly remembered her grandmother. She just didn’t miss her.


  1. This is sad. A shame Grandma didn't see the beauty in Tess, the creativity, the differences. Not everything needs ot be about quiet and decorum.

    A definite class of generations. Nice little scene

  2. Anonymous11:17 PM

    I feel bad for Tess. It must have shaken her confidence to be picked at like that. Luckily, I had grandmothers that left me with sweet memories, and a sadness that they aren't with me any longer.

    P.S. the word verification makes it hard to leave a comment. This is my second visit to your site, after failing eight verifications the first time I tried to comment. I don't know if others have the same issue, but I thought I'd mention it in case...

  3. Well, now I know there was a reason I wanted to smack the grandmother when she was so rude to her. Tess sounds adorable. Your last sentence sums it up. Nice work!

  4. I am heartbroken for Tess! What a mean woman and you're right, what could a little girl do to be treated this way. I agree with Mag, she should have been smacked!

  5. "jiggling your leg!" reminded me of a friend's Grandma (a formidable woman, but not a nasty one) who used to call that "thinking with your kneecaps".

    I love how her enjoyment of all things orange persisted in spite of (or perhaps because of) Grandma's churlishness.

  6. Nice job. As the others have said, Tess sounds adorable. It's a shame the grandmother never saw it. Great emotion in this piece. Thanks for linking up.

  7. I really like this story because it's honest. Let's face it, not everyone has that iconic grandma who's in the kitchen baking cookies or knitting them blankets and scarves. I think you told a truthful story here. Well done!

  8. Anonymous10:25 PM

    This is very good piece. Thought provoking for sure. It certainly made me stop and consider my words.


Sorry about adding Comment Moderation, folks. But look at the bright side, at least I've gotten rid of word verification!