Tag Archives: grandma

Senior Moments: Fork Fight

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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It Was a Drive-By Beaching

Today I am going to tell you a story about the time me and my best friend B went away together for Spring Break.

This could conjure up expectations of a “Girls Gone Wild” type post if I failed to omit one important detail—we were 8th grade girls and we went to Florida to stay with my grandparents at their condo.

Every morning we would throw on our suits, flip-flops and tanning accelerator, hop on  three-wheeled bicycles and spend our days in the sun by the community pool. Aside from the occasional water aerobics class and shuffleboard tournament, we basically had the place to ourselves.

My grandma was someone who believed that once meat was cooked, it didn’t need to be refrigerated and could be left out on the hot countertop until it was either consumed or it disintegrated. What did need to be refrigerated—or more specifically, kept in large Ziploc bags in the freezer—were ketchup and mustard packets from various fast food establishments that always gave out “free condiments.”

Because of a desire to avoid food poisoning, we often suggested frequenting various chain restaurants for dinner, be it gram’s favorite—Juicy Lucy—or something more familiar to those of us under the age of 65. This suggestion was often well-received, not only because my grandpa loved to eat anything anywhere, but because Happy Hour drinks were 2-for-1 at most of these restaurants—as long as you ordered both drinks at the same time.

That meant that when you walked into any Applebees, Outback, etc. between the hours of 4-6, you would be greeted with tables full of senior citizens pushing their oxygen tanks off to the side of their booths to make room for their two Rum and Cokes, Screwdrivers or Vodka Tonics.

The waitresses were thrilled with their tips, I’m sure.

One day my grandparents presented us with an exciting proposition—going to the beach.  About an hour away, the beach was where the action was. We eagerly packed our beach bags and hopped into the backseat the Cadillac, windows down, Neil Diamond warbling from the speakers.

As we got closer, B and I exchanged excited glances and gathered up our bags, waiting for the car to slow down and park so we could join in the whole beach experience.

The car never stopped.

“This is the beach,” said my grandpa, proudly pointing it out as we kept driving by. Confused, I asked where we were going to park.

“What? Why would we?” asked my grandma, looking a me as if I had just suggested only playing 12 Bingo cards at once or actually refrigerating leftover chicken. “It’s too busy, too hot. Do you girls want some ice cream?”

Now mortified, I looked at B and saw panic in her eyes. The only way we wanted ice cream was if it could be eaten on the beach, which meant the car would have to stop at some point soon.

But despite my protests, the next time the car stopped was at McDonalds just off the highway. Grandpa placed the order of sundaes and cones while we sat in shock in the back. No basking in the sun on the sand, no dipping our toes in the ocean—just a drive-by in the Caddy and “Sweet Caroline” on repeat.

As we pulled up to the pick-up window, my grandma leaned over the driver’s seat and gave strict orders to the window worker to include the condiments, which I naively assumed to be the optional nuts for her sundae.

In retrospect, I should have been prepared to hear her demand not the nuts, but the free packets of ketchup and mustard to add to her collection back home.

“Free condiments means free condiments,” she said with a chortle, turning around to face us in the backseat. “When you’re paying (.99 cents) for each ice cream, you better make sure you get your money’s worth.”

Because after all, nothing completes a day at the beach like free ketchup and mustard to hoard with your ice cream.

“Now who’s ready for happy hour?” she asked, tucking the packets into her oversized purse, no doubt to make room for the sugar sure to be swiped from the restaurant.

I looked at B and saw hope in her eyes.

We were ready.

Make it a double. 

This trip down memory lane was brought to you by this weeks RemembeRED prompt:

Take us back to an embarrassing moment in your life. Did someone embarrass you, your parents perhaps? Are you still embarrassed or can you laugh at it now?

As you probably know, I could write a whole book on my senior experiences. And trust me, we always find the funny…and the discounts.

Word to Your Mother

Although my mom often advised me NOT to go with the crowd (unless they were going somewhere cool), I am going to join the rest of the world in wishing my mom a Happy Mother’s Dayelectronically and through food.


Two generations of trouble and a whole lot of love.

I’ve written about my mom on here before, so if you are late to the game, please take a minute to read it. I’ve also written about my grandma numerous times, so if you are late to the game, she’ll probably kick your ass.

At any rate, my mom doesn’t want to do anything today but relax in the sunshine, watch the game and enjoy some beer and cupcakes. More people should go with that crowd.


Word to my mother, indeed.