So, we had dinner with the grandparental units on Monday.
Grandma and Grandpa live on about an acre of property out in the sticks of Auburn, which is a city kind of near where I live. They have a little stream running through a corner of their property, a little manufactured home, a vegetable garden, and a bunch of flowers and random plants and trees they added in the years they’ve been there.
My grandparents have been married over fifty-five years. They’ve always been a pretty big influence in my life – when I was younger my dad lived with them and I would stay with them for weeks at a time in the summers, and weekends the rest of the year. When I was twelve or so, I went to live with them since my mother found me too rebellious and difficult to live with. I lived with them for about four years. I must have inherited my Grandpa’s temper, because back then we butted heads on a regular basis. I think it was because we were both Sagittariuses. I don’t see them very often, but I see them more than the rest of my family.
Anyway, Grandpa picked up a Papa Murphy’s pizza, and Grandma added big pineapple chunks and more cheese. We sat around the table talking about family stuff and what’s going on in our lives. Grandma took us on a tour of their property and showed us all her favorite trees and flowers and how her pea plants are growing pea pods and how she has a lot of peonies all over the place.
Both my grandparents are getting shorter as they get older (and I get taller). My Grandpa has totally white hair and smiling blue eyes. He’s over six feet and still works for a living, helping people move stuff. He’s got helpers and trucks and still goes out every day to move things. He can’t hear very well – sometimes he’s nodding and smiling but hasn’t heard a word you’ve said until finally he asks a question because he’s totally lost. I think it’s because he can sort of figure most things out and he’ll do that as long as possible because he doesn’t want to admit to not hearing things.
I noticed that my grandmother’s hair is getting more salty than peppery anymore. She has light brown hair that has almost disappeared with all the gray running through it. She’s getting shorter, now she comes up just barely to my chin. She forgets things, a lot. Like words and names and the things she was going to say. She’s got wrinkles around her brown eyes and laugh lines around her smile. Signs of age. I don’t want to see it, so sometimes I look away. The thought of losing them makes it hard to swallow because of the lump in my throat.
Grandma just got a new red Kia. I think it’s a Kia. If not, it’s a Neon. One of those gutless little sporty types. Grandpa says ever since she got the car, she’s been unfit to live with. They are two of the best people that I know. I hope some of that rubbed off on me.
The cutest thing about Grandma, however, is her voicemails.
Grandma loves to give you the complete backstory. It’s never just a quick call to ask whether I’m still coming over for dinner.
No, no, no.
This is how a voicemail from my grandma, checking to see if I’m still coming to dinner (originally it was going to be Sunday, which is when I got the call), will typically go:
“Oh, hi honey! This is your Grandma. Grandma Joyce. I’m, I’m, uh, just calling, to, well, see if you’re still coming over tomorrow. David said that you were going to come over tomorrow, for, um, um, um…”
Pause. Shuffle. Sound like the phone is being muffled in fabric, or…something.
In a muffled stage whisper: “DAVID! No, David! I’m on the phone!” Pause. “I’m on the phone, with, with, our granddaughter. I’m leaving her a voicemail!”
Pause. More shuffle. Phone is being unmuffled now.
“2N? Hello? Okay. Okay, David said you were coming over for dinner, and I just wanted to check that you still were coming over. I’m putting together the dinner, and, um, I’m just wanting to make sure that I have enough, um, for everybody. Because David said you were coming over.”
“Um. We’re going to, um…um…oh. What’s the word?! In the morning, we’re going to…to…”
At this point, I’m screaming at the phone: “CHURCH! CHURCH! You’re going to CHURCH!”
“…oh darn! Um. Oh church! Church, we’re going to church, and we’ll be home somewhere around, oh, three or so.”
“What? David! What? Oh. Okay.”
“David says we’ll be home closer to two or two-thirty. So we won’t be very available until about two or two-thirty, because we’ll, you know, be in church until then. So if you’re going to be there, um, please just go ahead and let me know, so I know if I have enough food. I mean, I think what I’ll probably do is put on enough for all of us including you, you know, if you’re there, that way I have enough. Okay. Okay. Well, I better get going, but I just wanted to call and see if you were still going to come over, and so I also just wanted to say that we miss you, and we don’t always get to see each other often enough, but it’s important to remember that we still love you, and we’re so proud of you, and we can’t wait to see you. Love you, darling. Bye.”
And seriously, that whole entire amusing voicemail was entirely worth the wait to hear that last part there.
I love my Grandparents.