Growing up in the South, I always felt that I was privy to inside information on God that church-going city kids never got. For instance, I knew that God could be afraid of mere mortals. How did I know? Well, he was afraid of my grandmother. Really afraid.
My grandmother had a real relationship with God. Not a white-gloved-Sunday-morning-pious pretending-that-I-can-do-no-wrong kind of relationship, but a real honest-to-god (sorry) one. She really knew God. And he knew her. Sometimes they got along. Sometimes they didn't. I remember one time, in particular, watching her give Him Hell after she got a letter saying that her pension was going to be cut. Now, that was quite a blow to someone living on a small fixed income and Nanny was furious.
"Dammit, God, I'm not taking it anymore!", she yelled up at the sky. [God responds with shamed silence.]
"I mean it! I've done my part. I put up with that no-good redneck son-in-law (my father) and all his bullshitin' relatives coming down here (to Virginia) demanding this and demanding that and making more work for me and nobody does a damn thing to help and I'm just worn down to the bone (she shakes her fist up at God) and I'm so tired I can't see straight and now you are going to let them cut my pension???!!!!! You know what I had to do for that friggin pension???? Hell, yes, you know! I had to sleep in that fartin, burpin, snorin, scratchin, nasty Booza Lieb's bed for 14 years to get that measly little widow's pension. And now you're gonna let 'em cut it? God, you do something about this right now, you hear! If you don't...(Nanny paused, then nodded her head vigorously as if making up her mind to something)... I'm going to the other side! I mean it. Satan can't do any worse to me than this! I've had it!"
The next day, a letter showed up from the pensioner apologizing for the mistake. It turns out, instead of cutting her pension by 10%, Nanny was going to get a 10% increase. God had backed down.
"Sweet Jesus!" she cried after reading the letter. Throwing up her arms to the heavens, she sobbed over and over, "Thank You, thank You, thank You" while big fat tears rolled down her cheeks. Then she composed herself a bit, patted her hair back into place and said, "Now, God, you sit right down here at the table, I'm gonna make you something to eat." And she did. At the very head of the table, she placed a plate full of corn cakes, country ham, and eggs. Then she went about her business.
That plate stayed on that table for two days. Flies came and went, the dog sniffed at it with curiousity, and the rest of the household watched warily as the food grew more and more rancid with each passing hour. But no one dared touch it. And on the third day it vanished. Just like Jesus after the crucifixion.
Some people used to say my Nanny was a nut. Some said she was an alcoholic (although I never remember seeing her drink or get drunk). I just think she had this awesome relationship with God.