Mighty Morphin Grandma can get the goods

June 28, 1994|By ELISE T. CHISOLM

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. I was planning to go to church, but I got a call about 7:15.

"Mom, are you busy? I just don't know how to ask you this, so I will just come right out." I figured she was going to ask me to keep their 5-year-old for a month while they went snorkeling in the Greek Isles, or she was going to ask me if she could borrow my car, or my house for a conference.

Nope, none of the above. After all, she knows I would go to the moon for that precious grandchild of mine.

She asked me if I could go to Toys "R" Us at 9:30 a.m. when the doors opened, as she just heard they had received a midnight shipment of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers -- and that's what he wanted more than anything else in the world -- one ranger.

Now ordinarily I don't stand in line for anything: not for nylons in 1943, not for Frank Sinatra tickets in 1956, not for a Cabbage Patch doll a few years back, and not even for Baltimore Orioles tickets in June of 1994.

But this was different. This grandchild had a bad case of chicken pox. He'd had fever and very sleepless, itchy nights. And, after all, it was my chance to be a hero, a Mighty Morphin grandmother. Oh yes, Morpheus is the Greek god of dreams.

"Sure, I'll go. What's a Power Ranger?" I asked.

Then she told me that a Power Ranger is a plastic action figure and is coveted by millions of kids. (Of course, if I got the wrong ranger it would be -- oh, wow, pow, zap and down with Granny.)

He wanted the red-suited, fierce-looking Power Ranger named Jason, who wears a white helmet, white boots and a black visor.

I was told the rangers are a band of wholesome teen-agers who turn into Power Rangers when it's time to do noble deeds. That is, according to the daily television series "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers."

But believe me, at my age, you won't understand the show any better than he does at 5. It's a mixed bag of interplanetary robotics, space aliens, earthlings -- violence and benevolence. But the rangers do fight crime.

Over the phone that Sunday morning, through chicken-poxed lips, he says, "Gran, the rangers are good guys, I promise. You wool wike the rangers 'cause they save the Earth." (He can't say his "L's" at the beginning of words yet.)

I got to Toys "R" Us at 8. There were about 120 assorted people.

I sat on a curb and chatted with a Chinese grandfather who had no idea what rangers are except that he was ordered to get a green one.

My new friend said this would only happen in America. I said, I wondered what America is coming to when parents give in to Morphin-like demands. He had some doughnuts he shared with me. He'd been there since 6 a.m.

There was a woman with five kids, a man on his way to Canada who had heard rangers were available on his car radio and pulled over, a few hitchhikers, bikers, churchgoers and a crying baby who had been born the night before in the parking lot, I think.

When the doors swung open, there was a stampede of rabid, avid, ballistic customers diving in. There was no crowd control. Two women lost their kids for a while. Someone lost their shoes. But because I am tall, I yanked Jason with Grandmother Morphin strength off the top shelf.

I got out of there alive . . . well, almost. One woman threw her arms around me and said she'd give me 50 bucks for Jason, but I was imbued with sudden strength.

I know, I know, intellectually the quest for Power Rangers was crazy. But spiritually, Jason -- and he is kind of cute -- and I bonded that morning as I clutched him to my heart while I drove carefully to the House of Chicken Pox.

The pox abated as the magic of the Mighty Morphins took over. Now all the power rangers have to do is save the Earth.

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