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Shirley Temple Three
December 18, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

“What I’m about to show you,” he says, “you can’t tell a soul about it. If you did, it would be major trouble. Trouble with a capital ‘T.’ ” He sips his drink and tugs the quilt away.

Mawmaw takes a step back. She’s looking at some kind of elephant. With hair.

“Don’t worry. She’s not dangerous,” Tommy says. “Bread Island Dwarf Mammoth. The last wild one lived about ten thousand years ago. They’re the smallest mammoths that ever existed. Cute, isn’t she?”

The mammoth is waist high, with a pelt of dirty-blond fur that hangs in tangled draggles to the dirt. Its tusks, white and pristine, curve out and up. The forehead is high and knobby and covered in a darker fur. The trunk probes the ground for God-knows-what and then curls back into itself like a jelly roll.

“What’s a goshdern Bread Island Dwarf Whatever doing in my yard?” Mawmaw asks.
Shirley Temple Three by Thomas Pierce
posted by y2karl (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Points for having a grandmother called Mawmaw, which is what I call mine and am tired of being a Southern transplant who has to constantly explain that "Mawmaw" is a valid grandmother name, up there with YiaYia and Nana and Gran.
posted by Sara C. at 11:29 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


...up there with YiaYia and Nana and Gran.

Ai!Ai! is acceptable only if your Mawmaw is a very Old One.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:50 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ai!Ai! is acceptable only if your Mawmaw is a very Old One.

New England is full of respectful children who know nothing but love for their dear old AiAi. Comes up more often than you'd think - the Black Goat of the Woods did have a thousand young, after all.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:00 PM on December 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


My local Old One has many maws, but I'd never call her MawMaw. She would eat my face off and then give me a new face. Then eat that face. Show respect, guys.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:04 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


My "I have reading comprehension" sense says I know what happened to the poor mammoth, and my "ARGH A CUTE FUZZY THING" says "it went off to live it's days happily with it's twin and was never sick or sad or hurt again"

both sides know that really wasn't the point of the story but OMG A CUTE TINY MAMMOTH
posted by FritoKAL at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read this the other day. A bit unconventional for a New Yorker story, but I guess George Saunders has opened some doors.
posted by matildaben at 12:53 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am reminded of Howard Waldrop's "The Ugly Chickens" (which someone on here introduced me to, and I am just paying forward).
posted by steef at 1:12 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read this the other day. A bit unconventional for a New Yorker story, but I guess George Saunders has opened some doors.

Jon, posted here, did come to mind.
posted by y2karl at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my family, the oldest grandchild generally gets to pick the grandmother name. Because there was a fourteen-year-gap between my mother's youngest child and her little sister's eldest, my maternal grandmother began her grandmother career as "Mamaw" and ended it as "Nanny".

We didn't notice any huge difference, and the cornbread still rocked.
posted by steambadger at 1:17 PM on December 18, 2012


Points for having a grandmother called Mawmaw, which is what I call mine and am tired of being a Southern transplant who has to constantly explain that "Mawmaw" is a valid grandmother name, up there with YiaYia and Nana and Gran.

Maw Maw?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:23 PM on December 18, 2012


Huh, I did not know that, having not seen that show. Hooray for Mawmaws everywhere!
posted by Sara C. at 2:11 PM on December 18, 2012


New England is full of respectful children who know nothing but love for their dear old AiAi. Comes up more often than you'd think - the Black Goat of the Woods did have a thousand young, after all.
posted by FatherDagon


Well, you'd know.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:25 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow: "...up there with YiaYia and Nana and Gran.

Ai!Ai! is acceptable only if your Mawmaw is a very Old One
"

Shouldn't this be Iä!Iä!?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:41 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea what just happened, but I think I liked it.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:25 PM on December 18, 2012


In the French-Canadian parts of New England, you call her Meme (and her husband is Pepe).
posted by wenestvedt at 9:18 AM on December 19, 2012


you call her Meme

OMGWTFLOL
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:06 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the French-Canadian parts of New England, you call her Meme (and her husband is Pepe).

I reserve those names for my borderline-obsessive mind-wiped space ninja sister and my creepy talking skunk with personal space boundaries, thank you very much.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:27 AM on December 20, 2012


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