Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Day With Old Ladies

I spent much of the day today with my 93-year-old grandmother and her friends. I know I said last year that she was 93, but she really is 93 now. She gets around pretty well; just stopped driving last month. Today she had some very visible signs of old age: trouble keeping her balance, couldn't open the individualized packets of her new pills, thought the brand new toaster I had bought her for her birthday was broken, mistook a quarter for a penny.

Anyway, I hate the idea of getting old, as those of you who have read me for awhile know. I was sitting with Trudy, Dot, Judy, and Grandma at lunch, thinking the whole time that I never want to get this old. It was depressing. The exciting conversation for the day was how the front office people were taking everything out of the closets and out of the beauty salon and dumping it in the hall. "Fall cleaning for open house," Jo Ann said. "No, it's for the inspection," Trudy said. "Huh?' Dot said. (Dot can't hear a damn thing.) "No, it's for the open house," Jo Ann said again. "Well, I don't know what it's for"my grandma said, "but it's funny!" Ha ha ha ha. Ugh.

When the 12-yr-old waiter came to take my order, Trudy asked me, "Are you going to get the fresh bread?" I asked, "Fresh bread?" I had seen just "bread" on the menu. "Yes," she replied excitedly. "It's fresh out of the package!" "Huh?" Dot said. When I got my "fresh" bread, it was either as stale as week old bread or had been put in the toaster for a few seconds. It was very dry around the edges. I put butter on it to help it out. All the while, the four old ladies were oohing and ahhing over the fresh bread, including Dot, who had no idea what the hell she was oohing and aahhing about.

And then the exciting subject of bingo came up. You pay 50 cents, and when you win, you get a quarter. Some lucky lady at the place won 5 quarters this morning!

Just then, an extremely old woman came over to the table, patting everyone on the back and grinning. My grandmother introduced us. And as I was sitting there contemplating how I can painlessly keel over in my sleep before my 90s, the woman came over to me and said (I kid you not), "Look what YOU have to look forward to in the future! Someday YOU are going to be an old lady just like US!"

"Do you want that coffee to go? the 12-year-old waiter asked Dot. "Huh?" asked Dot. "He said do you want your coffee to go? Do you want him to put your coffee in your walker?"Trudy asked. "Yes," said Dot. My grandmother leaned over and whispered in my ear. "Watch this," she said. "When Dot gets ready to leave, everyone at the table will get up with her and bring her her walker." Sure enough, when Dot tried to stand up, Jo Ann and Trudy stood at attention. Jo Ann rolled the walker over beside Dot. "I don't know how to drive this thing," Jo Ann said. Trudy pulled the chair out for Dot, while Dot painstakingly got up herself and grabbed a hold of the walker.

As we walked away, my grandmother said to me for the upteenth time, "No one ever leaves anyone alone at the table," my grandmother told me. "If everyone else is finished eating, we wait until the last person is done. It's our unspoken rule around here. We NEVER leave anyone alone."

I am poking fun at them today, but I am so glad that my grandma has these wonderful, old women to keep her company and be her friends and that they never leave her alone at the table.

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