THE KILLOUGH CHRONICLES | THE INDIA FILES
by James Killough
My Australian maternal grandmother had a few annoying habits. The most glaring was that she snorted like a sow chasing Thanksgiving leftovers when she laughed too hard. It drove my father crazy. It was nervous laughter, and the pig snorting was exacerbated as she tried to stop herself mid-chortle when my father glared at her. She was terrified of dad, which made her more nervous, which made her chortle-snort at everything he said even when it wasn’t funny. A typical dinner scene at our house ended up seeming like Lars von Triers’ take on Everybody Loves Raymond as scripted by Jonathan Franzen.
The most annoying thing for me about Grandma’s visits was the breakdown of her flight, even though now that I think about it, it’s from her and my mother that I get my daunting, entrapping sense of detail. It’s a long way from Australia to anywhere these days, they still haven’t mastered that distance thing, but back in the 70s and 80s that distance thing was even more acute, which meant we had to listen to hours of a blow-by-blow description of everything that happened during the flight, including what she ate, and how inevitably the food on Qantas was so much better than BOAC/British Airways, “those awful poms just cook the most atrocious food, soggy vegetables, tasteless meat…” etc.