My Gramma from Tramma called me one day and asked me to come up to visit. Aunt Leonard had just had her second child via a cesarean and then her gall bladder ruptured – so, she was home with a brand new baby (and a toddler) and healing from two very serious surgeries. And Gramma from Tramma wanted to give her a break, since she helped them all the time. My grandparents needed to go to the pharmacy and the grocery store, church and a few other errands and Aunt Leonard couldn’t drive. So, I took off one weekend and went to northern Iowa to help out where I could.
Aunt Leonard lived behind Grandma’s favorite bar. How convenient for Grandma! I had to stay at Aunt Leonard’s house because there wasn’t room in Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment for me. So, one evening, as I was getting ready to go to Aunt Leonard’s house, Grandma asked me if I would drop her off at the bar on my way. Of course I could, I never could say no to my Gramma from Tramma!
We get to the bar and it’s icy in the parking lot, so I pull up closest to the door and help walk Grandma in. Once I got her sat down, I told her goodbye and said I was heading to Aunt Leonard’s house. She didn’t like that idea and wanted me to meet some of her friends. So, I went and moved the car to a different parking spot and went in and met her best friend, the bartender and every other Joe who walked in the bar. Everyone there had already heard of me (and I’d met her best friend before) because Grandma obviously talked about me a number of times to them. I was there about an hour. I told her to call me at Aunt Leonard’s house when she was ready to go home and I would pick her up and take her home. She said “Okay Doll” and off I went – leaving her with her friends and a Hamm’s beer in front of her.
I get to Aunt Leonard’s and we talk and I play with her oldest daughter and hold the baby, then we get ready to go to bed. I told Aunt Leonard that Grandma would be calling me to take her home so I slept in my clothes. We all konked out and although Aunt Leonard had to get up a couple of times to feed the baby, neither of us remembered that Grandma hadn’t called.
At 5 o’clock the next morning, the shrill ring of the telephone woke both of us up. Since I was young and spry, I jumped up and answered it so as not to wake the kids. It was Grandpa and he was FUMING mad. Grandma hadn’t come home that night. Linda took the phone and told him to go down to the lobby of their apartment (it was previously a hotel, remodeled to be disabled and retirement apartments) and wait for me, I’d come and drive him around until we found her. Aunt Leonard wasn’t worried, she figured Grandma went home with her best friend.
I get up, brush my teeth and hair and head out in the cold to rescue my Gramma from Tramma and calm Grandpa down – he had problems with his blood pressure and had a bad heart so he didn’t need to get all worked up. When I got to the apartment building, Grandpa wasn’t in the lobby. I parked my car and went up the elevator to see what was going on – worried all the way because if Grandpa said he’d be there to meet you, he was always there.
I walk into the apartment and see Grandpa in his usual chair, beside the window. The top of his bald head was STILL red, so I knew he was still mad. I asked him why he wasn’t ready to go and waiting for me in the lobby. He picked up his cane and pointed to the bedroom. I go look and there is Grandma, sound asleep in her bed.
“Did you not see her when you woke up this morning?” I asked Grandpa.
“She wasn’t there, now thats.”
“Well, she’s there now so how did she get there?”
“I found her in the elevator when I got ready to go to the lobby, sound asleep and snoring, sitting in the chair in there. Thats”
(I have no clue where or when Grandpa picked up the “thats” or “now thats” at the end of his sentences, but he nearly ALWAYS said it and those in our family continue to get a giggle out of it when we talk about him.)
It was like pulling teeth to get Grandpa to talk when he was mad, so I left it at that and went back to help Aunt Leonard – with a promise to come back when he was ready to brave the cold and go run his errands.
He never called, so around 5 o’clock that evening, I went back to Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment. There is no better way to explain that my grandparents were like night and day in their older years than to say that Grandpa woke up at five in the morning and went to bed at five in the evening – and Grandma got up at five in the evening and went to bed at five in the morning! UNLESS there was a game of cards to be played, and then Grandpa would stay up way past his bedtime because he LOVED beating everyone at cards.
I walked in and asked if he had made dinner and he said he’d eaten. So, I suggested we play cards, if he was up for it. He was and we started out playing cribbage – and Grandma came out of her bedroom. She went in, made a sandwich and sat down to play cards with us.
Now was my chance to get the WHOLE story out of her.
I asked her why she didn’t call me to take her home from the bar? She said she had planned on it until one of the policeman she knew came around to check to make sure the bar was closing and he offered to drive her home because she was standing out in the cold. Obviously, this was not the first time she needed a lift; plus, she knew everyone in that town and he was probably a kid who went to school with one of her many children at one point or another. But that copper made her MAD because he wouldn’t let her put her beer in the front seat with her – he put it in the trunk. She argued with him all the way home. He got her into the lobby and brought her the six-pack she had bought and went on his way. She remembered getting in the elevator and then remembered a very mad Grandpa waking her up in the morning – but didn’t remember anything in-between those times.
When it all came out in the wash, Grandma fell asleep in the chair in the elevator, with her six-pack of Hamm’s beer on the floor (in a brown paper sack) beside her. And that’s how Grandpa found her the next morning. He was still mad at her for not coming home and she was still mad at the copper who stole her six-pack.
After we got done playing cards, Grandpa headed for bed, Grandma headed to the television and I headed over to Aunt Leonard’s house for another night. I told her the whole story – and then SHE was mad at ME because we laughed so hard over the entire incident that now her stitches hurt!!!