Despite what you may have heard, my Grandma did not try and stab a woman we’ll call “Eugina” with her fork at lunch.
At least that’s what I was told when I sat down by Gram the other day in the dining room, her chair wheeled up to the table and clothing protector in place. While Lorraine was wheeled up on the other side of the table, Eugina’s spot was mysteriously vacant.
Dinner with Eugina—a large, loud woman from the South who looked like Oprah in “The Color Purple” but talked like a drunk auctioneer—was stressful, so I can’t say I was entirely disappointed with this development.
Eugina would shovel food in her mouth and loudly ramble on about things no one could understand. Gram and Lorraine would exchange cataract-filled looks across the table and ramble on in Polish I couldn’t understand, but that I interpreted as something of less than a stellar opinion of their dining companion.
(The first words you learn in a foreign language are usually those of a profane nature.)
“Put in a penny, get a whole goddam dollars worth of noise,” Gram has said on more than one occasion, a sentiment Lorraine would echo with a simple “amen” between bites of her mechanically processed meal.
As I sat across from Eugina’s empty chair, I was immediately given the defendant’s side of the claim.
“That floosy made up some story about how I tried to stab her hand with a fork at lunch,” Gram said, taking one more bite of her meatloaf before turning the fork around to point at me—a bit of incriminating evidence, but apparently done for emphasis. “Not that I could understand her, but I know what she was saying.”
She went on to tell me how the nurses had to calm Eugina down, but that they would have been more successful if they had just put more ice cream in front of her, as “the woman would eat shit on a shingle if you put it on her plate,” a sentiment Lorraine again echoed with a simple, “amen.”
At this point in the story, the dessert cart was rolled in, prompting many seniors to get twitchy and anxious like junkies awaiting their fix. While there are always several options, there are also always several complaints—the wrong flavor of pie or cake, cookies too hard or too soft—and usually from the same people.
“Why is there no cherry pie?” Irene asked, looking around to see if everyone else was as appalled at this development as her. “All I wanted was cherry pie, and what do they bring? Apple. Who brings apple pie?”
Richard, nursing his bottle of root beer like Corona, kindly told her “don’t get your tit in a wringer” before taking some pie for himself, a nugget of advice he dispensed often to both men and women.
Settled in with some sweets of her own, Gram turned her attention back to the matter at hand—literally.
“Why would I do such a thing as stab her?” Gram asked incredulously as she brought her hand up to her heart, revealing the Kleenex shoved up in her sleeve. “First of all, I was too busy worrying about my own food to think about sticking that woman with my fork.
“And second,” she continued, “if I were going to do it, I would have used the butter knife.”
No further questions, Your Honor.
*Apparently Eugina was moved to another wing on charges unrelated to the fork incident in question. Gram is in the clear—for now.
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