Her hands were gnarled and disfigured from years of arthritis – a hefty woman of less than five feet tall. Her swollen legs were encased in stretchy elastic bandages. Though her short body was bent and disabled, her mind was as sharp as a tack. I don’t recall her wearing anything but a black dress with a dainty crocheted lace collar. Her slightly peppered white hair was always braided into a bun.
Her six foot husband towered over this diminutive character. Her face was almost always stoic and sullen. I rarely saw her smile and when I did it was ever so slight. She wasn’t one to show her emotions – until her children bought her one of the first televisions purchased in the small town. She thought it a frivolous gift and a total waste of money.
There wasn’t much on the tube in those early years except local news shows, some children’s programming and WRESTLING. It didn’t take the woman long to become addicted to these staged events. She was convinced that it was absolutely true.
She would wring her lace handkerchief tightly around her twisted fingers. Her wrinkles seemed to deepen as she became involved in the “contest.” Chairs would fly across the mat along with one person and then another. When it was over, she ranted on and on about the savage behavior of the two wrestlers. She didn’t miss an opportunity to tell anyone about what she had witnessed and how vulgar it was.
The next Saturday, she would plant herself in front of the TV and go through the same ritual all over again.