Now that I’m living back in the same town as my ma in-law, it has become more-or-less routine for me to take her out on a Tuesday.
I know what day of the week it is, but she’s always a little confused. Every day is Saturday in her world.
I have to preface each visit with a call to her the night before.
The conversation typically goes something like this:
Me: "Hola, Granny! What are you up to?"
Her: "Oh. Nothin’ much. Just sitting here waiting to die."
Me: "Really? What’s keepin’ ya?"
Her: "I dunno. Just ready to go and they ain’t ready for me!"
Me: "Well, do you feel like takin’ a little whirl around town tomorrow?"
Her: "What day is it?"
Me: "Today or tomorrow?"
Me: "Today is Monday, tomorrow is Tuesday."
A slight pause.
Her: "Let me check my calendar."
Her calendar is the only clear spot on her counter. Well, in her whole kitchen, actually. Her counters are chock-a-block with knick-knacks, cookies, candy, papers, and Lord knows what else. It’s the kind of mess where you can’t see the forest for the trees.
I can hear her making her way across her tiny living room floor to the kitchen, which, if she slipped and fell she wouldn’t get hurt ’cause it’s so small there is nowhere to fall.
With her phone in hand, I know she’s reached the calendar because she’ll say, "OK, what day is it again?"
"Today is Monday," and I give her the date.
"OK. And you want to go when?"
"Tomorrow. If you’re up for it."
"I’m always up for it. What time and where."
"I’ll pick you up around 11 and we’ll see where the winds of destiny blow us."
"OK. I can live with that. Will there be chocolate or dessert involved?"
"If you so desire. I think that can be arranged."
"Good. It’s not a ‘hair day’ so I can go."
"OK. I’ll call you in the morning to remind you."
You know me. Any excuse to get outta this place, and I’ll be ready."
"OK, mamacita. I’ll call you in the morning."
"Not before 9!"
"Nope. I’ll call you around 10:30."
"I’ll have had my Cheerios by then."
"Right. See you tomorrow."
"OK. Thanks. Really, thanks."
I arrive at her place at the appointed time and she’s always ready. Purse, house keys, and cane.
She has a bit of trouble getting into my ride, so I have to do a few magic tricks to get her into the passenger side. One of those tricks is to remove her left shoe first. She can’t fold her legs far back enough so I have to slip off that shoe first and push that foot in, then hoist up the other leg under the knee till she can slide across the seat, usually laughing and grimacing at the same time.
Until we get to a destination, the conversation is pretty much the same as always:
"Where are we going?"
"Well, I need to go to WalMart."
"OK. I think I can handle that."
I start counting. I usually get to about 20 before she asks, "Now where are we going?"
"WalMart. I need to get a few things there."
"Oh, that’s right. OK."
Start counting again.
I make it to 15.
"Where did you say we’re going?"
Usually by the fourth time she asks, I say, "I’m not telling you. You’ll just have to wait and see."
After a bit of shopping and errand running, we will go to her favorite place to have a bite to eat.
She always orders the same thing, because it’s routine and she likes it.
Oriental chicken salad.
Heaven help us if they ever change the menu.
I took her to a new place recently and she was excited to try something new.
"I’ll have the pulled pork sandwich," she informed our darling waiter. And he was. Just darling.
I was proud of her for wanting to stretch her culinary imagination a bit, but warned it was probably going to be spicier than she may be anticipating.
She shrugged, saying, "I like a little adventure."
After the first bite of sandwich, when her perm shot out from her head making her look the Bride of Frankenstein and her eyes began to spill forth water, I knew the sandwich was a little too spicy.
Neither of us could quit laughing.
She was determined to eat that danged sandwich, too, even if it killed her. I was afraid it might actually do that.
She ate it, taking just a bit home with her in a box.
"You gonna bury the rest of it out in the courtyard?" I asked.
"Well, I hope it will be a reminder of what not to order next time I’m out!"
Which reminds me, that’s her chorus when we are riding around in my hoopdie.
"I"m out! I’m out!" she shouts.
She repeats it often.
"I wonder what those people would think if they could hear me, shouting about how happy I am to get out of there..."
I laugh and tell her, "I wonder what those people are shouting when you leave! ‘She’s gone! Let’s party!’"
"Yeah, ‘Elvis has left the building.’"
She warned that she may die on my watch.
I told her she was not allowed to do that ’cause then I would be forced to do Tuesday Bingo at the VFW.
"Oh. I might like that. Let’s try that next week!"
I have no worries there.
Remember? Every day is Saturday in her world.