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Ask Carter Hall Anything, Part 3 - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Ask Carter Hall Anything, Part 3 [Sep. 8th, 2010|07:54 am]
Marissa Lingen
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I had a post where you could--still can, for the rest of today--ask Carter Hall anything. Here are more of the questions and answers:

So what's Janet like, *really*?

Janet? She's like her gran, but faster. I would say, "and better with a stick," but no, I think just faster. Up until now I was not a praying man, despite Granny Laird's best attempts, but I think now I will thank God that Granny Laird was never given a stick. Um.

And moving briefly out of the realm of anonymity, pameladean asks: If it's not too personal, why did your father give you away to Janet?

Huh? I don't know what you're talking about. My dad didn't give me shit. Didn't give me to shit. Didn't stick around long enough. As far as I'm concerned, Uncle Larry's my real dad, and the other guy is just the--I don't know. The raw material. And in case you're thinking this is one of the stories where the guy's dad comes back and they have this tearful reunion, you can get that out of your head. He died a long way from here, doing something stupid that had nothing to do with me. I was 19. And honestly it was kind of a relief, knowing I would never have him showing up slapping me on the back and going, "Heh heh, well, water under the bridge, right, kid?" Because that kind of water drowns people. It sure drowned my mom. Aw, hell. I don't want to talk about this.

Janet Laird: I think I know what you're talking about. I can get this one, Carter.

Carter's dad didn't give him to me, Pamela. My dad did.

Dad and Bobby and I were having dinner with Granny and Grampa Laird--Grampa was still alive then. And Granny said, "Nancy Mason's sister and her boy moved in with her and Larry."

"That's a real shame," said my dad, but Grampa shook his head.

"Barb never could look after herself, much less that boy," said Grampa, "and Terry Hall wasn't ever coming back to do it, even if he could. Nancy and Larry will make a home for him."

"Carter Hall?" I said. I knew Carter. He was in my first-grade class and my Sunday School, and most importantly we played hockey together. Carter was like Bobby and me, first on and last off the ice for open skates. It's not that big a town. We knew each other pretty well by then. I won't go so far as to say we liked each other, but we knew each other pretty well, and we'd pick each other first if we were choosing up teams. That much was already clear.

Now that I think back on it, we were still about the same size then.

Granny looked at me sharply. "Janny, you don't go talking about that boy's family troubles around school. He's got enough on his plate as it is."

I looked at Grampa. "Didn't sound like troubles."

"Not with Nance and Larry. No. He'll be all right." Grampa ruffled my hair, and I went back to my pork chop, content.

But my dad wasn't content. "Janet, you keep an eye on that boy."

"Dad!" I protested. On the ice was one thing, but off the ice, boys and girls were starting to go their separate ways, and Carter and girls were really starting to go their separate ways. And I did not want anybody saying that I liked Carter Hall.

"He's good on skates already, and he's likely to come out a big strong boy. Only thing Terry Hall ever gave him. And I can't be there in the first grade to keep him out of trouble."

"I can't keep him out of trouble."

Bobby finally, miraculously, spoke in my defense. "She totally can't, Dad. What's Janny going to do? She's only a first grader and a girl."

Almost in my defense. My brother's miracles generally left something to be desired unless they involved a puck.

Gran didn't blink. "The rest of us are having chocolate cake, but Bobby isn't having any, because it was baked by a girl."

"Granny!"

"In my house you speak civil to all people, boy, or you pay the price, and this time the price is chocolate cake." Her eyes glinted. "Next time the price will be worse. Now. Janet. Nobody is asking that you make young Carter into an angel here on this earth."

"Good thing!" I said. Grampa grinned at me.

"But you can maybe keep an eye out for him, make sure he doesn't get in trouble too bad? For your dad?" said Gran. "He doesn't have a family like us, Janet."

I scowled around at them and thought that anybody who didn't have a family like my stupid big brother might be lucky. Then I thought how Carter's dad wasn't dead like my mom, he was just gone somewhere. "Okay. I guess. I'll do what I can." I figured it would mostly involve thwapping him in the ear when he screwed up.

I wasn't too far wrong.

And also non-anonymously, seagrit asks: Carter, do you cross train in the summer? Or is it just hockey, hockey, hockey year round?

Naw, can't be just hockey, hockey, hockey, that's the way to sprain something or tear something or whatever. I lift weights, and I run--although real runners like you would laugh at me--and sometimes I play pickup hoops or whatever with the guys. They like to change stuff up on us. One time Coach made us do yoga. I am not used to that shit. There are bits of you that are not supposed to bend that way. And then they tell you to breathe into your eye sockets or your elbow or whatever? and the weird thing is sometimes you get what they mean? I'm not so sure about that. I'm kind of hoping Coach doesn't get another notion that way. But I'll do it if he says to.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-09-08 05:09 pm (UTC)
Gran utterly WINS AT LIFE.
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-09-08 05:38 pm (UTC)
Your newsletter! I subscribe!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-09-08 07:17 pm (UTC)
The True Tale of Carter Hall is jam-packed with Granny Laird. There is, for example, the chapter where Granny Laird is at the spaghetti supper, and the chapter where Janet is cleaning out her Gran's garage, and the chapter where Granny Laird has to face down the Gigantic Big Spoiler.
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[User Picture]From: brooksmoses
2010-09-08 05:16 pm (UTC)
I am now curious whether Carter knew about that story of Janet's before now -- and if not, what he thinks about it at this point!

Edited at 2010-09-08 05:16 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-09-08 07:17 pm (UTC)
Eh, he didn't, but he's not too surprised, really.
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-09-08 05:39 pm (UTC)
My relationship mostly involves my true love thwapping me in the ear when I screw up. It's a pretty good foundation for a relationship.

Also, I like grandmothers who take no ****.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-09-08 07:19 pm (UTC)
Carter is nothing like Janet's true love. He is more like her extra brother.

Extra brothers are not to be sneered at or trifled with, as Uncle Bill and greykev can testify.

Also, I don't know what grandmothers who take **** are like. Unless **** stands for cash, in which case mine will take that or checks, whatever is more convenient for you at the end of the poker game.
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[User Picture]From: asciikitty
2010-09-08 07:25 pm (UTC)
Extra brothers are great, except when they're not. Like actual brothers.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-09-08 07:30 pm (UTC)
Ah. See, my extra brother is far superior to most actual brothers of my experience. He never broke my toys or hogged the backseat or yelled at me or pulled my hair. He is unfailingly courteous and has actual stuff in common with me and lends me books and returns the books he lends me. And we are always aware that we chose to be each other's family and did not get stuck with each other.

My mom's extra brother the same.

Janet's extra brother less so, though, because mine was picked for affection and hers more for comic effect. Also I had no particular need for greykev to be able to play defense.
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-09-08 08:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, sorry, I did not actually intend to imply that the Janet-Carter relationship was equivalent to mine with my wife's. Just reflecting on the ear-thwapping similarities.

I grew up with a similar idea to yours on What Grandmothers Are Like, but I am told by various parties that these experiences may be somewhat atypical. I am not sure I believe this.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2010-09-08 07:05 pm (UTC)
Ack, please convey my apologies to Carter for getting left and right mixed up, as it were, and poking a sore spot. Or, well, not, if they would make things worse.

Janet's grandmother FTW.

P.
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