When I was a kid, Grandma drove a cranberry-colored Mercedes sedan.
Doubt it was as cool in reality as in my recollection, but I sure loved that car.
Grandma was an elementary school science teacher back then and used to take me to the natural museum for little field trips when I was the only grandchild old enough to go. (Thanks to her, I didn’t flip out last year when some tiny black snakes found their way into the house while my husband was out of town.)
Sometimes I’d swing by Grandma and Grandpa’s condo on a lunch break from my first post-college job. During one of those lunches, back when PRETTY WOMAN was in theaters, Grandma told me, “I saw that Julia Roberts on television the other day. She’s really not that pretty. She reminds me of you, dolling.”
Snort. “Thanks, Grandma.”
“Oh, you know what I mean.” Chuckle. Dismissive wave.
Grandma’s married name is Ethel Herman, yet despite the similarity of name to one of this country’s first divas, Grandma’s never been known for her lovely singing voice.
Except, perhaps, to Grandpa.
One big family dinner, Grandpa was mid-sentence when Grandma sang a verse, apropos of nothing. The whole table went quiet. Grandpa forgot what he was about to say. Then he smiled and said, almost to himself, “Oh, she sent me.”
Grandpa did it right. About eight years ago. He was 86 and in generally good health. Fell asleep on the sofa and just never woke up.
Grandma is probably doing it tonight. That’s what the hospice folks say. I remember how frustrated she’d get back when she was sharp enough to feel the Dementia coming on. The last few times we visited, she barely opened her eyes long enough to enjoy her great-grandchildren. If Grandma were a dog, she’d have been permitted a humane and dignified exit years ago. However, she’s a demented old lady in a nursing home who, apparently, has decided to take matters into her own frail hands and has stubbornly refused to eat since Saturday.
You go, Grandma.