Grandpa, Grandma, Lions and Go Fish
Grandpa and the Lion
I have a picture of me with my sisters, my mother and one of my grandmothers standing around a hospital bed. Perched on the edge of the bed is my grandpa wearing one of those hospital gowns that robs you of your dignity the moment you don it. My hair was twisted into two pigtails framing my youthful face and I wore a flower midriff shirt with pants my mom had made us. We wore the very same clothing when we moved from Hawaii to California. I hated it. It was binding and we had to wear shoes. We all looked nice though.
Grandpa, the man sitting on the bed, was absolutely fascinating to me. He was very sick and I did not know it at the time, but he was dying of cancer. One of his ears was missing the top part, a victim of the cancers. When I asked what happened to his ear my Grandpa spun a wild tale. He told me he was in Africa during the war and his troops had run out of food. He was forced to take a patrol out hunting for some food. They were hoping for to find some hippos or giraffes. I was horrified at the thought of killing either one, but then he told me that really they wanted Roast Beast and that was okay with me. We had Roast Beast on Sunday dinner sometimes. Now don’t go questioning, if my mom said it was Roast Beast, it was Roast Beast.
So Grandpa, on patrol with his men, went into tall grass looking for Roast Beast. They were hot on the trail of one, when, all of a sudden,one of the men screamed. Grandpa turned around and there on top the man was a lion. A ferocious lion at that. Grandpa went over, grabbed the beast by the tail and with a mighty swing, flung the ferocious animal off of his man and into the grass. He turned and helped his (I guess unharmed) soldier up. Grandpa turned back just in time get out of the way of the leaping, teeth gnashing, lion. He wasn’t quick enough and the lion bit off the top of his ear. His men were able to scare the lion away. They bandaged grandpa’s ear up and continued on with the hunt, finally finding Roast Beast. The patrol returned to camp and everyone ate Roast Beast with potatoes and carrots.
I believed every single word of it.
Grandma and the Coffee Grounds
Such a difference to the brief encounter with the one grandma. We went to her house. I was very young and all I can remember is she had dark, long hair and when I went to go through something away I saw there was A LOT of coffee grounds in the trash and bottles of grownup stuff. I asked about the grounds as I was fascinated with the idea that someone drank that much coffee. I guess she got upset over me seeing grownup stuff in and around the trash because I got yelled out to stay out of there.
Grandma and the Rat
The other grandma. One time she came to visit our house in Hawaii. We had a regular menagerie. There was Guinea pigs, mice, hamsters, rats , turtles, fish, no birds, rabbits, dogs, cats and I am sure I am missing few critters. One of our rats was very smart. He was an ex college lab rat that ran the mazes too quick and, therefore, fairly useless for teaching. His name was Frederick the Great and he would scamper up your body to sit on your shoulder. He also was able to manipulate the latch on the communal rat and Guinea pig cage. He would escape on a regular basis and usually ran straight to the house to be around his people. Frederick, of course, went to say hi to grandma. I should say he was a white rat with a black patch around his middle and did not resemble a wild rat in the least. My grandma SCREAMED! It was great. I also found out during that visit that my grandma took everything off when she went to bed. She took off her glasses, she took off her teeth, she took off her wig. It was crazy.
Grandma Cheats at Go Fish
This grandma was also the grandma who taught me to play Go Fish. She cheated. Totally caught her a few times, but she told me no one would listen to me. I quit playing with her and was rather angry. To this day I don’t do children that way. I won’t cheat in a game,won’t trick a baby, or mess with a kid’s belief systems. She was supposed to be the adult and I wanted to like her ,but she cheated and that was so wrong in my little mind. Unforgivable really.
The last time I saw her she was in a wheelchair and looking very frail. I was older and mom had already talked about her being in a home for the “elderly”. She had been rather violent and broke a nurse’s arm before, so I think she was a bit sedated and hardly frail. I still had the memory of her cheating at Go fish. Putting that aside, still didn’t like her and her energy. I did go touch her hand and murmured nice things because that is what one does when you suspect someone is about to pass. Her skin was incredibly soft. I have only ever felt soft skin like that once before and have never achieved for myself.
I’m a Grandma too
My granddaughter is coming to visit me soon. Love having her over to visit. it is my hope that I can be the grandparent my grandpa was. I try to leave her wonderful memories and no cheating at Go fish memories. My job has grandma is to not take things too seriously, to love her,to introduce her to new, fun things, but most of all my job is to play and have fun.