“On the first day of Christmas, my husband gave to me ... a nutcase in a pear tree...”
Ah yes, that time of year again when all the crazy lunatics in the extended family get together to show one another just what lunacy is really all about.
Granny managed to do pretty well in spite of herself, with one brief layover on her trip. I was standing at the small airport waiting for her, figuring I’d hear her before I’d actually see her, but there she came, being wheeled down by one of the lovely folks who work at the airport.
Granny had a look of sheer panic on her face, not knowing whether or not I’d be there to fetch her.
I had only talked to her three times the day before, assuring her that we had everything well in hand and all she’d have to do is show up in once piece.
That she did, with her 40-pound purse in her lap and waving her cane over her head. The poor gal pushing the wheelchair had to keep ducking so as not to get clonked in the head when the boom came around.
I had to leave them at the curb to go fetch the ride, and getting her loaded into it was another feat of epic proportions.
Because she doesn’t get out much, she is nearly incapable of lifting her legs more than an inch off the ground.
Getting into the little SUV I have is nothing short of YouTube video gone viral. I have to first deposit that big heavy purse on the floor, she then sorta goes up on tiptoes and lifts her butt to the seat, then has to brace herself while I bend over to bend her knees and slide her around. Always, and I do mean always, her feet get caught in the door, even with the door wide open.
Swing the legs back out and take off the shoes, which now are slip-on sandals, that is all she will wear. Off they come and the tucking of knees and scooching of bottom across the seat begins again.
Shoes back on, purse under legs, cane resting between the knees.
“I’m out of breath. Oh dear me. I’m out of breath.”
That’s her, not me.
The skycap, whose job it is to keep those loading lanes clear, knows with certainty to not come over and tell me that my 30-second loading allowance has expired. He sees by the look on my face that I will not be happy if reprimanded. He merely gives me the “Been there, done that” nod and I get a few more seconds to load that cargo.
She gets seat belted in, which is another small feat in itself because she can’t get her jacket or arm or cane out of the way and can never find the latch, so I have to do that for her. Meanwhile, there is a small audience standing at the curb watching all this commotion, as Granny nearly wets herself laughing from the absurdity of it all.
Before closing the door on her, I ask her — in front of the viewing audience — “Do you know where you are?”
She keeps giggling and says, “No...!”
And she isn’t lying, she has no idea where she is.
Settled at last, we take off and are out of the airport.
“Boy! I’m starving! Can we stop somewhere to eat?”
“Yes indeed, we have been saving our appetites for the restaurant up the road, right kid?”
The Kid pipes up, “Yeah! I’m hungry!”
The restaurant is a local legend, been around for years and stays busy 24/7. Well, being from the South, you all know Shoney’s Big
Boy ... we were heading for Bob’s Big Boy.
Noisy, busy, big ... just the place for a mid-day meal.
We get seated pretty quickly and the waitress takes our order, a no-nonsense older gal from the Philippines.
The Kid said, “I don’t like her ... she’s mean!”
She was fine. Totally fine.
Granny had no idea what to order, so she just ordered the usual. Chicken strips and fries. Kid-sized.
When our food arrived, she stared at her plate like someone had just given her a plate of pigslop.
“Did I order that?” she asked.
The Kid and I started laughing and I said, “Yes, you did!”
“Oh!” and she plowed right into it.
Twice during the meal, she cupped her hands around her mouth and said very loudly, “This is a very noisy place!”
I wasn’t embarrassed, because that’s just how she is.
But laugh? You know I did.
After finishing the meal with the hot fudge cake, there was maybe about an ounce of cake and hot fudge sauce on the plate.
She asked our stoic waitress if she could have a box.
I said, “I already put everything in the box.”
She pointed to the scant remnants of the cake.
The Kid and I started laughing again. With gusto.
I said, “Girl, this ain’t the home! You are not taking that spoonful of dessert home in a box. No way!”
She turned bright red and said, “What? You’re going to let that go to waste?”
“There isn’t enough to take home and it will melt. If you want it, you’d better snarf it right now!”
She laughed and pushed the plate away, sliding her bum across the booth and managed to get upright.
We turned to leave and I heard a loud “bang!” as her cane hit the floor.
I turned back and there she was, spoon in hand, scrapin’ up the last bit of cake and fudge, dribbling it on her shirt before making its way to her mouth.
Satisfied that she’d gotten the last bit of it, she took her cane from me and shuffled toward the exit.
For the next 80 miles or so, all I heard was, “Oh dear me. I’m so full.”
“And a nutcase in a pear tree....”