Before I tell this story, I should point out that while I am very close to my grandparents, they never call me. They’re just not big on talking on the phone to anyone. Sometimes, I might get a call on my birthday but probably I’ll just get a card. And if I talk to either of them on the phone, it’s going to be my grandmother. If I call and my grandfather answers the phone, he sounds very startled and says, “oh! Let me get your grandmother!” And that’s the last I hear from him.
So, when he called me today, completely out of the blue, I was a little worried. Something bad happened! What was it? I was talking to my sister a little later: “Yeah, and then grandpa called.”
“Why? What’s wrong?” was her instant reaction.
It didn’t help matters that he seemed hesitant to tell me why he’d called. “Um, hi, Alice. It’s your grandfather. I, uh- I’m calling because, um…”
I panicked. What was it that he couldn’t tell me? Was my grandma OK? My mom? Just how bad was it? He wasn’t crying, though. Wouldn’t he be crying if it was something terrible?
Finally, he came clean.
“See, I buy my cigarettes from Kentucky. It’s a lot cheaper than buying them in California. We have so many taxes. $5 a carton! I just call them and they ship them out to me. But the last time I ordered they told me there was this new law and they wouldn’t be able to ship to California anymore. I don’t know how that’s even legal, but… I checked, and they are still allowed to ship to Washington!”
“Grandpa, are you asking me to break the law for you?”
“Yeah, I was wondering if you would smuggle cigarettes for me.”
My grandpa. The renegade smoker. “I know it’s a filthy habit,” he said, “but it’s too late to stop now.”
So, I said sure, I’d smuggle him some smokes and now I wait for the huge box of cigarettes to show up at my door.
So I’m in cohoots with my grandpa. We’re the next big lawless pair: Bonnie and Cyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Alice and Grandpa. Don’t tell the Feds.