The deal was almost set—we’d move our fence six yards to the east and help fix up a barn in exchange for the tractor, giving the Perkins’ a little more land and securing the success of our harvest. The Perkins’ have been trying to slowly get our land for as long as anyone can remember, and we’ve needed a new tractor ever since Jake, our son, broke ours trying to drag a plastic pool filled with his friends across a shallow ravine. Don’t get me started on that boy—he’s full of bad ideas.
That’s beside the point, though. We needed a tractor, the Perkins’ had an extra one that they barely used, and all they wanted in exchange for it was a nine-yard increase along their property’s east side. We’d managed to negotiate it down to six-yards and a few hours of manual labor working to fix up their barn, which had a leaky roof and peeling paint. Six yards? Fine, let them have it.
Just as we were about to sign the deal, Grammy, the oldest member of the Perkins clan and, by extension, basically my own grandmother, pulled out her shotgun, holding it across her body like a guitar, and proudly displayed it for all to see.
“You wait just a minute, now,” she said, voicing her demands as if we were the hostage negotiators in the bank robbery of her dreams. Cocking the gun, she announced, “I said nine yard, not six. Plus help with the barn. I want all of it—the whole nine yards!”
As she showed the gun off and waved it around to further her point, I knew she’d never use it—not on me, at least—but it got my attention nonetheless. I thought to myself, who am I to say no to Grammy, the woman who practically raised me after my own mother passed away?
I stood there, speechless, feeling a strange mixture of fear and pride for Grammy’s newfound gusto. “Fine, you can have it. You can have the whole nine yards,” I said.