Thursday, July 07, 2005

Grandma and the Radio Shack Guy

My grandmother is like a Chinese dish: sweet and sour. But to me and my family she is only sweet. My dad is easily bothered by her, and perhaps with good reason. The stories he tells of his childhood are scary, the stuff of movies, of welts formed from a switch an inch apart starting at his ankles to just under his shoulder blades.

Grandpa passed away six months ago, so grandma is faced with many challenges now, like finding the will to live, and repelling the vultures that descend despite her cries that she is still alive.

They weren't a sentimental pair. I once asked her how she met grandpa.

"I don't remember."

"C'mon granny, you don't remember where you guys met?"

"It was at church." Grandpa, sitting next to her, didn't add anything.

Ask me how I met my wife, and I have a long story to tell. I'm one of the lucky ones in that it was actually romantic. But granny can't even remember. When grandpa died, after 65 years of marriage, she didn't know what to do with herself, and often she would fall silent looking at the chair where he always sat.

At first she wouldn't eat or leave the house, and we feared the worst. It's not uncommon for a spouse to pass away close on the heels of the other, but I've always thought grandma was too ornery to die. We've visited with her maybe three times since grandpa died, and each time she gave me little things that he had.

"Scotty, do you use Head and Shoulders?"

"No, sorry."

"It's shampoo!"

"Oh," I say, like I hadn't considered that.

"It was Jacks and I don't want it any more."

"Ok, I'll take it then."

And thus do I also have a collection of Old Spice.

Grandma, two weekends ago, was asked out on a date while returning a malfunctioning thermometer to Radio Shack.

"He asked me if I wanted to go dancing sometime!"

"What did you say?" I said laughing.

"I told him, I'm not interested buddy boy!"

I said, "What's the harm in dancing, it would do you good to get out of the house."

"No way, I'm all done with that stuff."

"I'm not talking about a date. You go out with Jiggs to play bingo don't you? This guy could be like another girlfriend."

"Leave grandma alone," my wife admonished from the back seat of the car. "She's doesn't want to."

"I've got no interest in any man. The fire in this furnace has gone out!" She smiled and added, "Even the pilot light."


Tee said...

WOW. You are an awesome writer. This story was so well written and very interesting.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Want to let you know that it turns out the Mars thing happend in 2003, thus it is old news! So disappointing!

Mr. T said...

Your Grandma sounds like quite the character... definitely too ornery to die. :)

But at least she's keeping her sense of humor about her.

And you can NEVER have enough Old Spice.

Great writing!

magnetbabe said...

Thanks for visiting my site. I fought a good fight for both of us, but I'm afraid that boy is just weird. I commented again because he implied that I was stupid. Big mistake. He has to realize that commenting randomly on people's site without even reading what they wrote will get him in trouble. Anyway, I read a couple of of your posts and enjoyed them. Nice work!

Scott said...

Tee - Thanks for letting me know about the Mars disinformation. I thought it all sounded a little familiar, and I even saw Mars in the sky during the time you mention. Of course your compliment is much appreciated.

Mr. T - I have to say, I love Old Spice. I just don't want to start getting for every father's day like my dad did.

MagnetBabe - That guy is totally nuts. I've read some of his posts on political sites. Whack job. Thanks for giving him some tude. And thanks for stopping by.

Mrs.T said...

I like that she has a sense of humor... sounds like she definitely has the will to live!

Beth said...

This was one of the best things I've read. Great writing, Scott! Old Spice is my favorite male scent. It's a classic.

I understand your grandmother a bit and I'm only 34. If my husband passes away, I'm done!

My mother-in-law said when her husband passed, it was like a sigh of relief. She can't imagine having another man to wait on again. =)

Brian said...

Your story reminds me of my grandmother, who is experiencing retirement as a widow. She often goes to social events at her retirement village and occassionally would go to dances but discovered that most of the men there were only interested in how big her retirement package was. So, when asked how comfortable she was living, to shoo them off she would say "Oh, I'm still paying off the funeral." They would literally leave her on the dance floor right then and there.

That's smart thinking, grandma.

jenbeauty said...

Isn't it nice to still have grandmas around? I still have my Granny and Grandma. Although Granny is 92, hard of hearing and hardly the lady I remember. She is still my Granny though and I love to make her laugh.

My children are very lucky. They have 5 grandmas. My hubby's mom, my mom, my 2 grandmothers and hubby's grandma. My daughter will most certainly remember all the great grandmas and how each made an impression on her life.

Good story Scott. I am so glad I found your blog!

Scott said...

T - She is funny, honest, and sassy as all get out!

Knitter - Glad that you're back. Your MIL is being honest, that's for sure. I can't imagine being married again either. I love my wife, but it's a lot of work to come to a center with one another. I would hate to start that over again. At a ripe old age it's not even a possiblity.

Brian - Good, no excellent point. It fits with all the other stories she's told me about people approaching her to buy her house. It's what I was referring to when I said the vultures are descending. What a rat bastard that guy was, I didn't think of that. I thought he was just lonely. Thanks for opening my eyes a little wider.

Jen - It is great having the grandparents. I still have two grandmas, and I'm thankful every day. I'm going to see my other one next week. She hasn't met our little guy yet, and we are going to her surprise birthday party.

Brian said...

Great story... That totally put a smile on my face