I try to find those rare moments any more when I can squire away some time with my 105-year-old grandma, just to pick her brain “one more time.” I admit that I do get anxious. At her age, you just never know how many of these moments we have left.
Just a few weeks ago, I drove the four hours out to visit her for a weekend. My husband and I arrived there a little bit later than she expected, and when we walked in the door of her home, the first thing she did was admonish me, just like she did when I was a child and did something not favorable to her.
“I was imagining that you were dead on the roadside or something,” she told me. “All I could think of was having to go to a funeral for you two and how many people that would affect.”
Grandma has always been rather over-dramatic when she gets upset. I just suspect that she thinks death is closer to her than to me at this point, and if I had been in a tragic car accident en route to her home, a funeral for me would have pre-empted any possible end-of-life celebration for her. Hey! If I can contribute to her continued longevity, I’ll do it! (However, my own premature death would not be one of the ways I would contribute to that end!)
After Grandma settled down, we decided to head out to dinner at her favorite restaurant. It amazes me how she can still navigate the steps outside of her front door more readily than some 60-year-olds I know. She also got up into my SUV on her own accord, with my husband’s hands at the ready. “I can do it,” she told us. And she did! She pulled herself up into the SUV. “Let’s roll. I’m hungry,” she demanded.
At the restaurant, she told us we could have anything we wanted. “I’m buying.” Her favorite phrase whenever someone comes to town to visit her. (Bear in mind that the dining venues in her small Midwestern town consist of A&W Root Beer, McDonald’s, Sonic, Pizza Hut, and a locally-owned family buffet and diner.)
During the meal, we began to converse about a host of topics, from growing old to Bob Dole to politics. Her years of wisdom poured as smoothly as the hot coffee from the pot.