Monday, June 26, 2006

You don't get to 80 by being stupid

We started weeks ago. We whispered. We planned. We sneaked. So when we showed up at one o'clock for "lunch" and Grandma was all dressed up with candles lit and music playing, it was clear the surprise part of the carefully-planned-but-obviously-something-was-missed surprise party, was on us.

Grandma turns eighty this week and when asked what she wanted, she said a new bathmat would be nice. That's just how she is. Instead, the family decided to throw a surprise party with about forty of her closest friends. Yes, closest because 80 years is a lot of time to make friends.

Grandma is quite the gal. I don't think she's ever met anyone that didn't become her friend. She can both manage finances and prepare a pot roast to perfection. She can draw very well (a talent I've always wished could have been passed on to me). Her sense of humor is remarkable. Spend a few minutes listening to one of her stories and the mystery of where this family's ability to tell a joke came from will be solved. She will have you in stitches, easily. She was a modern business woman before it was popular. Buddy, you may think you don't need any Avon now but 60 seconds with her and you will be questioning how you ever lived without it. She is good. Consistently in the top five in sales for the last four decades, thank you very much.

Above all, she genuinely cares about people. She's the most selfless person I know. She's intuitive and smart and can effortlessly pick up on your feelings or mood without so much as a glance. Which explains how she knew about the party; you can't hide much from a quick-witted woman of eighty.

It was such a valuable experience to be there. I listened to stories about bowling leagues and Avon meetings and block parties in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's. Sharing a friendship with just one person for fifty years is incredible. Several relationships spanning half a century is incomprehensible. We can all only hope to be so blessed.

I also have to say that one of my favorite things about Grandma is that she's always excited for me. No matter what I do or where I go, she's proud. She doesn't question me, she just believes in me. When my mother told me after the party that I should have "chosen different underwear to wear with those pants" my Grandma asked her why she was looking at my butt. I then told my mother that was impossible because I wasn't wearing underwear. My Grandma and I giggled together and my mother looked at us like our heads were on fire. Yeah, my grandma pretty much rocks, even at 80.


Runner Girl FL said...

She sounds fantastic!!

Happy Birthday Grandma!!

justacoolcat said...

Cheers to that and here's to hoping we all make it to 80.

Ginger Breadman said...

What a cool little lady. I love old people - they've seen so much of life they don't waste time being uptight. I laugh at how much fun she probably had lighting the candles, knowing the secret all along.

jackt said...

That's awesome. She sounds like a very special lady.

GirlGoyle said...

The secret to longevity is to be comfortable in your age despite feeling 20 years younger. Your granny sounds like one hell of a lady. Cheers to her!

Sister Buckle said...

Ha-ha - take that, underwear policewoman mum!

I had a Great Aunt who was like that - switched on and with this sense of humour that made you feel you weren't alone. She'd stand up for me when my own Gran was being prudish or dealing out the 'rules for young ladies'. Aunty Em would just give me a look and we knew what each other was thinking.

God, young people are so boring!