Wherefore Art Thou, Grandma Minnie?

By Bob Tennison

 

grandmaAt a church function in DalIas, a friend asked me if I had made up my mind about moving to Mexico. At that time I was still undecided. He went on to tell me about their trip to Copper Canyon, when his wife and he took their Grandma Minnie. Her Grandmother had taken care of her since she was five years old when her parents were killed in a hotel fire.

Margo’s Grandmother Minnie was one swinging lady. Her favorite saying was that she had the only motorized broom in the area. She smoked, drank scotch, and frequently used language that would make a sailor blush -all the things that my mother told me not to do as I was growing up. She was about to celebrate her 90th birthday and many times had stated that the only thing she wanted to do and had wanted to do for at least 10 years was to see Copper Canyon in Mexico. She had many friends who had made the trip, had seen dozens of pictures of it and it was the only thing left of the things she desperately wanted to do. Margo had collected enough money from the death of her parents that she would and could be able to grant her this wish. Margo and her husband went shopping for a camper trailer that would meet their needs for a real first class trip.

The scenic trip down was most enjoyable for all of them, as none of them had been to Mexico before. They made many stops along the way in order not to miss anything. Camp grounds were available which they had checked out on a tourist guide map to ascertain their locations well before leaving. They arrived in Copper Canyon early in the morning of Minnie’s birthday.

They set up camp before leaving for the Canyon, which was only a few miles away, and the splendor and magnificence of the views were more than they had anticipated. They covered as much as possible, photographing the spectacular views from every possible angle until the daylight began to fade. They decided on their way back to camp to return early the next morning for final viewing and more photos from different locations. They returned to their campsite to have a drink and an early dinner in order to be well rested for an early departure the next morning.

Minnie wanted to spend her last night there in a sleeping bag under the stars, so they settled her before leaving to go inside to finish cleaning up and packing. He went outside to say good night to Minnie and had the shock of his life to discover she was dead.

He called Margo to come immediately. They were both grief and panic stricken with the realization that they could not repeat this to any official and would be unable to leave Mexico for who knew how long, and it would cost a fortune to have her body shipped back. Reality had to be faced through their sorrow and inability to think clearly. They decided to close up the sleeping bag and put her on top of the camper along with the rest of the luggage. By the time they were finished putting everything in place for the trip home, they fell into bed exhausted, hoping they would hear the alarm when it rang. At sunrise, he went outside to secure the luggage. He thought he was dreaming when he looked up and found that all of it, including Grandma Minnie’s sleeping bag, was missing. The top of the camper was totally empty.

He was too stupefied to believe that this was really happening, but it was true. Margo almost fainted when he told her what had happened. She had to sit down for about ten minutes before she came outside. She finally looked up at the top of the camper and collapsed in his arms, remaining there until she was finally able to accept reality.

They eventually discussed what they were going to do at the border. They would have to leave as planned but did not want to report the theft as it would cause major problems. Should they be asked why they had no luggage or equipment in their camper they could not explain it without causing more problems. The border crossing turned out to be as lengthy as anticipated because they did report the loss of their luggage and equipment as well as when and where it happened. What with forms to fill out and papers to sign, it took about three hours. Grandma Minnie was not mentioned. Shortly after crossing they got out of the car, held hands, faced Mexico and bid farewell to Grandma Minnie.

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