Another point on my Montana agenda was to talk with my grandma and ask questions. There was no question in particular I was seeking answers to, I just wanted to hear her talk and see what kind of stories she might tell. Let me remind you she’s 94. And although she’s healthy as a horse, she has lived a good long life. As I asked questions I could sense her frustration in not knowing the answer. “What was it like when mom was born?” Silence. She would quickly reply to every question, “Oh, I don’t remember.” At times my mom was able to interject a few details and from there my grandma was able to tell the story. I think it was hard for her to think of the answers and it wasn’t worth it to her, so she gave the same answer. I don’t remember. I started asking less detailed questions and instead asked more general questions.
I clearly asked too many questions because the second day I was there she said to me, “Why do you ask so many questions?” “Have you always been this curious?” Yes, I’ve always been this curious – but until now the curiosity was focused on other things. Although she tried to avoid all my questions, we did have some great conversations and I loved every minute. She takes my sarcasm in stride and dishes it back.
A few of her funny stories/comments:
She was asking if we were going to have liver and onions for dinner. I was quick to inform her that liver and onions is disgusting and would probably make her sick. “I’ve been eating liver since I was a kid and look how long I’ve lived. It’s good for you.” I told her a new study came out saying that eating liver causes cancer. She looked at me incredulously, “That’s not true.” Yes it is. Especially if you’re eating a cancerous liver. We all had a good laugh and then she says to me in the most serious voice, “I’m going to punch you in the face.”
I asked “Did you like raising your kids in Montana.” Well, I suppose it was fine. But the beach would’ve been nice.
I was curious as to what she did all day considering her age and mobility. She does her daily crossword puzzle and sudoku. And then…she likes to look out over the hills and trees. From her bedroom she has an even better view, that’s why she refuses to sleep on the main level, she won’t give up her view. “I have the best view out of anybody in the whole wide world.” I quickly replied, “Not everyone…Tom (her son who lives just a mile away) has the same exact view from his window.” She looked at me and laughed. “I suppose we share it then.”
I asked her if she got her dessert after dinner. “Of course I did, I’ve had a couple. You can never have too many desserts.” This spoken from a lady who drinks hot chocolate for breakfast.
I asked her who her favorite kid was. She looked at me with the most confused face. “I’m not going to tell you that.” I let her know that she didn’t deny she had a favorite which confirmed my speculations. I asked her the same question several times over the weekend and every time she gave me the same stare down and then broke into a giggle.
I used my phone to skype with Steve and the kids while I was there. I held the phone in front of my grandma so she could see her great-grand children. She talked with Steve for some time before she realized her own picture sat in the bottom right-hand corner. She pointed out that she could see herself. I told her that Steve and the kids could see her as well on a large screen (compared to the phone screen) in Arizona. “I’m on a big screen in Arizona. But I didn’t even do my hair. Look at it, it’s not even done, I can’t be on a screen in Arizona.” The whole concept of Skype confused her just a bit. She asked a couple questions as to how it was possible but I don’t think she ever truly grasped it. She just kept repeating, “well that is just amazing.”
I asked her about meeting my grandpa. My grandma was traveling back from Texas (separated from her husband at the time) when she met my grandpa. It’s a story we’re all familiar with. So I asked when he first kissed her. She acted as though she was too shy to say, but after a few minutes of her thinking she said he kissed her on the bus. My mom and I looked at each other in shock. I looked for additional confirmation, “He kissed you right after you met him when you were just separated from your husband?” “Yes he did, my socks fell right off.” I died laughing. He didn’t knock her socks off, her socks fell right off. We used that line many more times over the weekend!