Imagine an 84 year old woman and an obviously pregnant woman walking through the airport together. If you were in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport on Thursday that would have been the scene. I flew up to the twin cities on Wednesday, rented a car, drove to Mankato and picked my hubby’s 84 year old grandma to bring her down for his upcoming graduation/ordination festivities. She is afraid to fly alone and I was elected to be her escort. I spent Wednesday night at her little apartment and we took off at 7:30am for the airport again on Thursday.
I love his Grandma. She is a sweet little old lady. She walks slow, shuffling each foot an inch at a time. She can’t stand for long. She can’t see very well. Her hearing is poor. But grandma has no problem talking. BOY can she talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. All of these features combined make for an interesting two days when you are alone with grandma for that long.
I got to her apartment at 3:30 p.m. She was standing at the door waiting for me with her coat on already, even though I told her I would be there between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m. She hugged me and immediately said “Are you hungry?” My husband’s family will NOT let anyone starve. They will let you in the house, shove food down your throat, and massage your tonsils while it is on the way down.
I said “Grandma, it’s 3:30. I ate at one o’clock on the plane”
She said “Oh, I think you must be hungry”
I barely got out “but really, I’m n….”
Grandma, halfway out the door “Lets go! I’m sure you’re hungry”
OK, some battles aren’t worth fighting. We went to her favorite restaurant, the Dam Store. She emphasizes the “DAM” part of the name and giggles whenever she says it. I wonder if she doesn’t like the restaurant just because she is an old very Lutheran woman who doesn’t curse, and she’s allowed to say “Damn” when she says “Dam Store”. Anyway, this is a hole in the wall place. The tables are warped and crooked. The seats are tearing. The floor is coming up. But they have great home-cooked burgers and shakes. The young woman behind the counter makes rhubarb pies that her grandma taught her how to make. This is all grandma needed to know to make it her favorite restaurant.
The temperature was 45 degrees in Minnesota. That night Grandma said “I turned on the heat to 78. I know Texas is a lot hotter than here!”
I said “Grandma, I have flannel pajamas. We don’t keep it that hot at our house! Don’t you normally turn your heat off? Really I would be more comfortable……”
Grandma replied “I think you need a fourth blanket. Here is a wool quilt”
I said “Really, Grandma, we keep our air on cooler than th…..”
She said, “Oh, you must be tired!”
I said “Grandma, it’s 8 o’clock”
Grandma said “Oh, it’s so late! I’m going to leave you alone so you can go to bed”
I said “Really, I never go to bed bef….”
Grandma was halfway to her room. Truth is, she goes to bed at 8 p.m. And I laid there with flannel pajamas and no covers in a pool of sweat all night. Watching the clock.
The entire two days I think I maybe finished one sentence. She told me the life stories of her hairdresser, neighbors, the manager at Old Country Buffet, her minister, her various cousins, nieces, nephews, their spouses, and repeated stories about her husband when he was alive. And then she repeated the life stories of hairdresser, neighbors, the manager at Old Country Buffet, her minister, her various cousins, nieces, nephews, their spouses, and repeated stories about her husband when he was alive. Then She repeated them all a third, and if they were really good fourth time. Many times she would say “Did I tell you about so-and-so” and I would say “Yes, grandma, you di….” and she would start on the story and go on and on.
In the airport we were a scene. She had to have a wheelchair so she couldn’t go through security. She had a fit when they put the metal detector wand over her and patted her down. She didn’t understand why her metal earrings were OK going through the X-Ray. When they came with the cart of drinks on the plane she asked me how much they were. I told her they were free. She said “certainly they aren’t free”. So, she asked the flight attendant anyway.
By the time we got to our house on Thursday at 5pm I was exhausted. I went to bed at 8:30 that night. SHE, the 84 year old woman, however, was wired. She stayed up until 10:30 pm repeating the stories about her hairdresser, neighbors, the manager at Old Country Buffet, her minister, her various cousins, nieces, nephews, their spouses, and repeated stories about her husband when he was alive to my husband. I think I heard Bryan squeak “but” and “Yes” twice. I’m not sure.