Monday, August 16, 2010

Grandma's Driving

I  gave my mother a pretty good laugh today.  She recently made a visit to the eye doctor and they gave her a peripheral vision test.  She has a genetic condition that is reducing her vision as she ages.  This condition can be repaired with a bit of cosmetic surgery on her eyelids.  She's balking at the idea of cosmetic surgery.  I am encouraging her to have the surgery, because impaired vision is a safety hazard when she is driving. 

I reminded Mom of a time when I was out driving with Grandma.  I'm thinking I was in the ten-year-old range at the time.  That would have put us in the late 1960's. Grandma had several surgeries for breast cancer, and combined with radiation of long ago; she had quite a bit of scar tissue on her chest, neck and sides of her torso.  We were making a quick trip to the Holiday station, as I remember it.  I don't know if it was a Holiday at the time; but that's what it is now.  Grandma was driving a boat of a Chrysler 300.  The vintage may have been a '64. It was white with red interior and push button transmission.  She pulled into the lot and snubbed the bow of the boat up to the side of the building.  She left me inside listening to the radio while she ran into the store.  It was busy, and lots of people were coming and going.  I was enjoying the music and not really paying much attention to what was happening around the station.  Gram wasn't in there very long, I think she just got a gallon of milk.  She hopped into the driver's seat and threw the boat into reverse.  She was gabbing away at me as the boat moved backwards.  I noticed a slight uphill grade to the parking lot that I hadn't noticed when we came in.  At the same time, I saw a guy in the store start waving his arms and generally blowing a gasket.  I glanced behind us and thought I saw a roof of a car, kinda close.  I hadn't just fallen off the turnip truck, and putting two and two together I said, "Uh, Gram?  I'm pretty sure you just backed over a car."  She said, "What?! No I didn't! Who'd park a car behind me??" She threw the boat into drive and pulled slowly forward.  As the boat came down off the crest of the sheet metal wave, there was the definite tinkling of lots of broken glass hitting the asphalt.  About the same time, the raving, red-faced guy came boiling out of the store.  He started with something like, "Are you crazy lady? You just ran over my car!"

Now, Gram could be a formidable force, and looked a good fight directly in the eye.  She was a firm believer in a strong offense, and went after him. "Why in the world would you park right behind my car?  Didn't you know I couldn't see it?  I'm an old lady, and I can't turn around like I used to!  Don't you go calling me names, Buster! It's totally your fault for parking behind me, and your toy car better not have scratched my car!....

That poor guy just couldn't believe it!  He started backing away, shaking his head,  and couldn't get a word in edgewise.  She said call my insurance man and gave him the agents name.  She got back into the boat and we headed for home.  The whole time she was grumbling, "Can you believe the nerve of that guy?  Parking right behind me and then saying it was MY fault?  What the devil kind of toy car was that he was driving anyway?  It wasn't even substantial enough to hold up to a little fender bender. I couldn't even tell I'd nudged the damn thing..."

Gram's been gone for 23 years now.  She gave the cancer the stink-eye for almost 30 years and never lost her fighting spirit.  Love you, Gram, and you gave us a good laugh today!

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