Thursday, July 26

Get me a pecan

As promised, I spent 3 weeks of my summer visiting with my family before my departure to Moscow. This included a 5 day stay in Amherst, Ohio. Amherst is a small town west of Cleveland. My paternal grandparents are old, both in their 90s both with failing bodies. They both use walkers and talk a lot about their ailments. However, they are still very lucid, loving and caring grandparents.

As always, grandma tried to ply me with food. So, obligingly I ate some of the pecans that were sitting in a bowl. A note on pecans - there are two ways to pronounce this word, I prefer pe-chan with a short "e", but you also hear pea-can with a long "e" and a "k" noise for the "c". Say it outloud a few times for yourself, it will make the story funnier. Trust me.

Ok, so back to the story. "These are good pechans, grandma." "Oh thanks, your parents sent those to us." Me, in my head, "Dear g-d, when was that?!" Turns out it was Christmas time, hopefully of this year. Grandpa: "I can't eat those anymore. Something, something, ailment..." Everything on grandpa seems to be failing now-adays, his kidneys most recently. Seems like if your kidneys don't work, then it's time to start wearing the adult diapers. However, grandpa is way too proud for this. He and grandma fully believe that they had 5 children so that they would have someone to take care of them when they got older.

So there I am for breakfast. Grandma is already awake and has been for hours. She and I are talking in the kitchen while my Uncle Vince is helping grandpa get dressed. Grandpa comes in forcefully on his walker. "Get me a cup of coffee and a glass of water." I do so happily and then grandma tells me to get his oatmeal from the stove. Apparently, grandma makes his oatmeal when she first wakes up so there it is all congealed on the stove. I plop it into a bowl. Grandpa: "Put some honey on it." He has me stop when there are equal amounts of honey to oatmeal and then has me float the concoction in milk. He yells out, "Vince, get me a peacan." I stand up and grab the bowl of pechans. I turn to give them to grandpa as my uncle walks in with a plastic jug that he hooks to grandpa's walker. Apparently that's grandpa's pee can! I blush furiously as grandma starts hooting with laughter.

Thursday, July 5

Let's do this every year...

I'm in Ohio visiting my extended family and today my 90-something year old grandmother asked me if this thing with my boyfriend was "serious." I said, "Well, if we survive the separation between Moscow and Japan, then yes it will be." I asked her how she knew that grandpa was the "one." She told me that she had never wanted to get married, in fact she announced it as often as she could. Early on, when she was 20, apparently she and grandpa had shared a dance and he'd asked her to a formal dance. Well, she borrowed her sister Betsy's formal dress as grandma didn't own one and her own mother came home and refused to let her go out as "no decent girl goes out on a date after dark!" But apparently grandpa persisted and 7 - yes SEVEN - years later he had gone with her to get a christmas tree. Apparently this tree was missing a branch in the middle, so grandpa cut one off the bottom and arranged it to fit into the middle. He helped her decorate the whole tree and said to her, "Let's do this every year." She agreed and a few months later they were married. She gave up her job in the city and moved out to the country with him. That was 61 years ago. They're getting very old now, but neither of them regret any of the years.