So this is the family you married into... sounds like a colorful bunch. I'll bet family get-togethers are a hoot! Does your wife have any of her Abuela's character traits?
Yes it is, and the entire family was wild...not just Coca
My wife of 45 years is a wonderful and beautiful woman (How I snared her I'll never know. I should have pursued a career in theater or film, because I think I must have convinced her I was someone I was not and by the time she figured out it was all an act, it was too late because she doesn't believe in divorce). But yes she shares the incendiary Latin temper of her grandmother, mother and all the women of the family (In fact she passed in on to my daughter who is also wonderful and beautiful...but insane when she gets angry). It was one of the things that attracted me to her from the beginning...a worthy opponent. We were married at 18 and without children for the first ten years of marriage, and that decade was filled with battles that are the stuff of family legend.
I still have a scar on my scalp from when she broke a floor lamp over my head, and one day I made the mistake of smashing a coffee cup in anger. She gave me her death glare, said only "Oh yeah?"
and then proceeded to smash every dish she could get her hands on before I could reach her and pin her arms to her sides.
When she was 7 or 8 months pregnant with our third child and loaded with explosive hormones, she had been badgering me about removing the wallpaper in our kitchen so she could paint it. There are few jobs I hate more than removing wallpaper and I knew that, although it wasn't her plan, I, not her, would be painting the room, because you can't let your very pregnant wife do it. So I made excuses and procrastinated. One day I came home from work to find she had decided she could not longer wait and started stripping the wallpaper herself. Now, one of the reasons I hate the job is because if you don't do it right you risk tearing the surface of the gypsum board and that is even a bigger pain in the neck to deal with than stripping the paper. Unfortunately she had not done it properly and marred the wall. She was standing by the kitchen counter when I came in, spied the damage wall and said only "Nice job."
As soon as the words left my lips I could feel the floor shudder and the air in the room crackle. I swear I caught a whiff of brimstone just before I heard her say in a voice that reminded me of the film "The Exorcist" "If I had a knife, I would cut you."
You have to understand, very few people have ever witnessed the Gorgon rise and everyone we know, except for family members, can't believe this story when I tell it, but I knew what was in store for me so I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and took my first born, four year old son into the family room with me. After a few minutes my son asked me "Is Mommy mad?"
I know I answered him but I honestly can't remember what I said, and at that point I think my wife was occupying a different plane of existence so I can't trust what she says she heard, but whatever it was, it engendered a sound like an eagle's scream and the next thing I knew she was standing beside me pouring the can of beer over my head.
Before it was fully emptied I took hold of my son and we retreated to the staircase. Fortunately she didn't follow, probably because she realized she had scared our son and, indeed, the little guy sat next to me with tears welling in his eyes and said "Mommy is mad at you!"
What next escaped his lips has been a source of debate between my wife and I for 31 years. She swears it was due to my answer to his first question, and I swear that I would never have said such a thing to one our children, but she could be right because what he next said while cuddled next to me on the stairs was "Mommy is f*cking crazy!"
If I had heard an eagle scream before, the screams of a whole flock of them filled the house then and I immediately scooped up my son, said "We gotta go buddy!"
and ran up the stairs into his bedroom where I locked the door behind us. The Gorgon never followed and so I didn't have to run from a woman with a grossly extended belly chasing me with kerosine and lit matches while my son yelled "Run Poppi run!"
and my daughter cried, "Get him Mamma, get him!"
I probably slept with one eye open that night fearing that otherwise I might awake to my wife standing over me with a Louisville Slugger, but nothing more ever came of it beyond the Great Debate of 31 years.
But while she certainly inherited her grandmother's cyclonic temper and perhaps some of her bruja powers (she swears by her predictive "feelings" and dreams) the old hag also passed on to her a terrific sense of humor that has allowed us to laugh together over events like this one for 45 years. It was what made Coca tolerable and even enjoyable and if she is the source of my wife's love of laughter it was a wonderful legacy.