Sunday, May 1, 2011


My Pap Pap Jay is full of vitality.  Let me paint a picture for you.  He dug a basement under his house.  By hand.  When he was in his seventies.  He's just not happy unless he is being industrious.  One of his favorite activities is doing lawn work in the intense summer heat and humidity.

He gets this from his mother, my Great-Grandma Bessie.  She's no longer with us (although we did receive that one fruit cake from her posthumously), but she was much the same way in her old age.  She volunteered at the local nursing home--where most the people were younger than she was.  She jogged daily--well into her eighties. 

It wasn't until she finally went into an assisted living facility that we started to notice her age showing a bit. 

Great-Grandma Bessie lived in a little town, so when we went to visit, the restaurant choices were rather slim.  We would always eat at a place called The Crossroads, which now that I think of it, was probably just a truck stop.  When I was a kid, I loved to eat at the salad bar there, mainly because of the lemon pudding (fabulous).  Anyway, on one occasion that we were dining there, Great-Grandma Bessie's hearing aids were on the fritz, which resulted in her talking at an alarming decibel.  While walking to our table, we had to step aside to let an old man with a walker pass by with his family.  Great-Grandma seemed oblivious, so we said to her, "Grandma, let this handicapped man through."

To which, she replied in the loudest voice possible, "HANDICAPPED?!  HANDICAPPED MY FOOT!  MAYBE FROM FALLING OFF A BAR STOOL!"

As I said before, this man's entire family was with him, so we tried to sush grandma to prevent any further awkwardness and embarrassment.  But she was having none of it.


But perhaps the most telling sign of Great-Grandma Bessie's aging involved my little brother Patrick.  At the time of this visit he was probably four or five years old, and Great-Grandma Bessie didn't seem to remember him. 

"And what's this little one's name?" she asked, in a normal tone of voice (her hearing aids were working again).

"Patrick," we replied.

"Pawcheck?!  Who ever heard of a name like Pawcheck?"

No one Grandma because that's not what we said.  Maybe those hearing aids weren't working as well as we thought.

We just didn't have the heart to correct her.  She went on calling him Pawcheck for the entire visit, and it quickly became just another nickname we could call my brother.

Pawcheck and Great-Grandma Bessie

1 comment:

  1. Aw,Grandma Bessie,I miss you. Patrick I'm not sure what I feel sorrier for, the fact Grandma didn't know your name or that I dress you in such ugly sweatshirt :( ........sorry son.