"If you don't see the real me, you won't see what love has won..." Vota

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving journey day 13

Today, my mom noticed among my decorations a Christmas card and was stunned to see I had already gotten a card. The only thing is this card is a card I received for Christmas in the year 2000. It was the last card I got from my Grandma. I for some reason kept it that year. April of 2001, she passed away. After her asking about that card, I thought about Grandma several times today, not in sad or depressing thoughts, but times when Grandma made me laugh and still makes me laugh just thinking about her. First of all you need to know a little about this woman. She was my dad's mom, had MS and was a little slow physically getting around, but she was still pretty sharp in the head. She had false teeth and as a kid I always thought it was so funny to see her teeth sitting on her bathroom counter, gross but funny. The best part about her teeth is that they did not fit. She would be eating away and her teeth would slip and fall together. Even better than that, when she would fall asleep sitting in the chair she would tilt her head back and her jaw would drop open and she would snore like a bear (as we all have done... right, I'm not the only...) uhhh, OK then... Anyhow, her mouth would fall open as she snored and then, CLAP, her teeth would fall together sitting there like her mouth was closed but it wasn't! only her teeth were. Just picture this old lady sitting there lips wide open, theeth clamped shut. I always got a laugh over her teeth. After her funeral we had the difficult job of going through her things and my dad just had to ask me if I wanted her teeth. OK the memories are enough to go on; I didn't really need the real reminders! So of course the teeth were not saved. They were a source of laughter after a funeral.

My Grandma's hair was like Christmas tinsel, this is what I told her. It reminded me of that gold and silver Christmas tinsel, where her hair had a red tone and had turned silverish with age. She had lovely hair. I remember one visit she came to our house growing up and I got to take her to the salon. Now another thing about my Grandma was that she was a cheapskate. She had plenty of money, but bargained her way around everything and everyone. I think she got the cheapest hair setting possible-- like rinse, curlers and a drier. Anyhow, I will always remember sitting in the salon with her and watching her be a lady. You know one of those sweet ladies who fall asleep under the drier and then... CLAP their teeth snap together with the mouth wide open and the loud Zzzzzzz is heard over the drier... What? That doesn't happen to everyone?

This same trip (I am pretty sure it was Christmastime) she was sitting in the chair and she said she was cold, so I went and got her one of my over the head sweaters to put on. I handed it to her and went to watch TV. A few minutes later, I look over and there is Grandma, sitting with her hands straight over her head, stuck in the sweater. She was just sitting there. She never said, "Help" or complained she just sat there inside the sweater hands stuck over her head. After pointing her state out to my dad and getting a good laugh, we helped her into the sweater. I asked her why she didn't ask for help and to be honest with you, I don't remember what she said because we were laughing so hard. This was my Grandma.

This is the lady who lived in Virginia Beach, right there with all that delicious fresh seafood. Every time we went we HAD to go to the beach and eat some. One of her last years my dad and my sister or brother one went to visit and she offered to take them out for some fresh seafood. Now first of all I want to tell you about her manner of eating. This woman would order enough food to feed a family of 4 and would take, oh my goodness, at least 2 hours to eat, and still would not have made a dent in the food. It was like she got pleasure just from sitting in the restaurant and looking at all that food. She would push it around and take a little bite and we literally would be finished an hour before she pushed her last bites around the plate. Anyway, on this particular trip, I am so disappointed to say, I did not get to go. I am going on what I was told. So they got into the car and headed out for this yummy fresh seafood. She took them to Captain D's. You know for their fresh seafood!

Every year as a family we would go to the Outer Banks of NC and stay with my grandmother in her condo/time share. The year I was 16, we went and Grandma had gotten a new car. Remember I said she was cheap; she had bought this tiny Geo Metro and had opted for the basic-- BASIC version with no power steering even. OK so this was a new experience for me as a fairly recent driver. I had never driven a car without power steering, and now am not sure why that option is even available to anyone, much less an old woman with dwindling reflexes (as tactful as I can be here-- in reality I believe my parents trusted me more driving this than they did her.) So one day we were there, Grandma decided she needed to go to K-Mart. I drove (not sure why when my dad was there... maybe it was a test???) and we parked in the handicap spot (remember she was handicap) and of course when we walked in the first thing she did was get the handicap cart-- you know, the motorized buggies with the little basket on the front. She turned the seat to the side and got on, but she NEVER turned the seat back around. She was riding this cart side saddled. OK so we assumed the position a few feet behind her letting her lead the way so as not to be too associated with the woman on the cart sideways. Well she wanted to shop for clothes, so we went to the clothes department first. She led the way and daddy and I followed behind her. Now if you can just picture us. Not too abnormal... yet. Have you ever been to K-Mart? Well, the clothes racks are pretty packed together. A person can just fit between them walking and barely with a buggy, so obviously the motorized cart wouldn't fit right? OK, so you just thought they wouldn't fit. She turned off the path and drove right in between two of these racks. Um, yeah, you can imagine what happened. No the rack did not fall! Here is Grandma, (sideways don't forget) driving through these racks picking up clothes right and left (literally) off the racks-- NOT with her hands mind you. The cart was picking stuff off right and left. Dad and I were mortified-- She just kept going, until she got stuck. Yes stuck to the point Daddy had to get her unstuck. I am not sure who was more embarrassed, me as a 16 year old girl trying to make impressions on anyone who saw me, or Daddy who was trying to disentangle this little, old, sideways woman from a clothes rack. Oh boy what a woman! She acted as if all was normal-- in fact this was typical, so I guess all was normal for her.

So today, I am thankful for 2 things. I am thankful that I kept the last Christmas card I received from her and I am even more thankful for fond memories. For things about her that still make me laugh. For the memory that this woman never raised her voice at me, never got annoyed with me, never lost her temper with me, always had a smile for me... I will always remember going to her house and walking to Mt. Trashmore (this really cool park that started off as a landfill), going to the boardwalk, climbing the tree in her backyard, hearing the Navy jets fly maneuvers overhead, riding my bike everywhere in a neighborhood my dad lived in...Memories are a gift after we lose a loved one.

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