We were at Grandma & Grandpa Campbell's little house on St. Claire Road. All the uncles, even my dad, had gotten together to build the house above the Bourbouse River outside Union. It was a ramshackle place by today's standards, but Grandma was happier that we had ever seen her. A home of her very own, after all those years.
All the big people had wandered off, the men had gone fishing, The women were in the kitchen, or sitting on the porch drinking lemonade or iced tea. Grandma was glorying in the quiet, alone for a while in her own living room.
Several of the cousins were playing in the terraced front yard between the gardens. Flag stone walk ways and steps led up to the highway. At the corner of the house beside the summer kitchen was a whet stone run by pedal power. Grandma's cats and kits mewled under the porch, untouchable and unreachable.
A game of cowboys and Indians was in progress and as I slurped up a quick drink I announced to Grandma that I was going to join the game and be Jesse James.
Grandma went still as a pouncing cat. Her voice RANG in the quiet house.
Those Jameses! They're TRASH! NOTHING BUT OLD WHITE TRASH!
I'd never seen my grandma angry before and this sounded real personal. I think my mouth dropped open. I slipped out of the house and I am not sure she noticed right away.
We never talked about it again. But I never mentioned Jesse James in her presence, either. Probably should have. But she wouldn't have told me. You don't tell the kids.