Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Chapter 1

    You know what’s better than livin’ in a cotton-picking nursing home? Being dead, that’s what. When you’re dead people don’t treat you like an old lady—like you can’t do a crossword with a pen. When the newly dead come it’s like waiting at the arrival gate. Pink haired, punk rock kid, tall-hatted bishop, my son in a sharp black suit, loping toward me, eyebrows up. “Mother,” he says. “Never thought I’d see you here.”

    Chapter 2

    I tucked my granddaughter’s plane ticket into a Barbie card—a running joke. The card simply said, “Hurry. Love, Grandma.” Our plan: she’d fly from NYC and we’d roadtrip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the San Francisco of the Ozarks. But I flubbed it. My heart gave out two days before our trip. I collapsed in the same spot John died ten years before. She drove from NYC, 20 hours straight; I was dead on her arrival.

    Chapter 3

    Marty swung the door open. I smelled brownies. Grandma gassed the Malibu a full week before a roadtrip. She planned. For the last ten years every time I saw her, she said, “When them worms get me, all the papers are in that hutchy lookin’ cabinet in the bedroom.” I beelined toward the secretary desk. The lock box key sat on top of her will printed on resume paper. A letter addressed to me poked out of a Barbie card.

    Chapter 4

    Marty: We have a problem.
    Me: What?
    Marty: There aren’t enough young men here to carry Grandma’s casket. Everyone’s like 75 or older.
    Me: I’ll do it.
    Marty: You can’t be a pallbearer; you’re a girl.
    Me: Are you fucking kidding me?
    Marty: Swearing doesn’t make you any less a girl. I’m preaching at this funeral. And I won’t let you offend everyone here. I’ll let Dad be a pallbearer before you.
    Me: Dad only has one leg.

    Chapter 5

    In Grandma’s closet, my eyes grazed the gun rack and settled on seven of the same shimmery black and white polka dot ‘Grandma shirts’ winking. One shirt in my hand, I rocked in the brown wood and leather Stickley chair. The balls of my feet hit the gold linoleum like a waltz keeping the beat with the whirring and humming Whirlpool refrigerator. The empty red Duncan Hines box of Brownies peeked out of the trash can.

    Chapter 6

    You never take time off from work. But you get a Barbie card in the mail that says, “Hurry. Love, Grandma with a plane ticket.” You take ten days off because you’ve just broken up with your straight girlfriend. And your grandma is the only sane person left. And over lunch with your ex, the phone rings. And you jump in your ex-girlfriend’s car and together you drive for 20 hours. But you’re fifteen minutes too late.

    Chapter 7

    How many old ladies get two funerals? Marty ran one in Pekin, Illinois. He preached and Brother Ken interviewed my girlfriends from the distillery and told their stoies. Brother Ken cleaned up the language; made it all nice. Melea took an ad out in the Mountain View Gazette a few months later. Townspeople showed up in big pickup trucks, hauling their oak dining tables down the gravel road to my house. Story circle on the yard, whiskey toast.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.