It was a huge milestone in my family when some weeks ago my beloved grandma turned a whopping 90 years old (or young according to her). She has obviously been part of my life for as long as I remember, and I really admire her still youthful attitude and for being a woman who doesn’t let age get in her way.
The following is a short list of all the things that amazes me and that I remember from my childhood; growing up visiting my grand parents. It allows me to celebrate her by remembering all the fun times we had. These highlights are in no particular order and I’m sure I could dig up a much longer list.
- House of Old; not too sure what it is, but there’s always a smell of ages in old people houses, and that’s despite them cleaning the place regularly. Perhaps it’s the furniture and carpets, but my grand parents house was no difference. As soon as I opened the front door I was greeted by the unique old people smell, but within minutes my nose had accustomed to it and I went about my business.
- Cannibal Fest; It sounds worse than it is, especially when I mention that it’s actually a dish she has perfected over the decades. Perhaps it’s a dish from her viking days, after the men came home from pillaging. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure of the ingredients, but it obviously consist of very tender meat that falls off the bone. In short, it’s a pot dish consisting of meat pieces on the bone and served with granny’s lumpy mashed potatoes. The great thing about this dish is that you had to use your hands most of the time, with the exception of when you are scooping up the mash potato with gravy. I must find the recipe.
- Nursing skills; she worked her entire life as a nurse at the local hospital. Needless to say, whenever I got a scratch or fell, I was quickly covered with a large selection of bandages. She had one secret ingredient in the cupboards for cleaning wounds, which was soap and a hard brush. No matter how minor my scratch was, she insisted on cleaning the wound so it wouldn’t get infected. There were absolutely no signs of pity as she scrubbed and tears were rolling down my cheeks.
- Toilet paper; what is it with old people and buying discount stuff. I fully appreciate that their pension doesn’t allow them to live large, but some day-to-day items should be considered a necessity i.e. toilet paper. They always bought toilet paper that resembled and felt like normal paper and despite my many pleas they never changed brand.
- Cleaning windows; in my teenage years I was hired as their personal outdoor window cleaner. It was a way for me to earn some pocket-money and I didn’t mind riding my bike for five miles each way to work for 45 min. However, or funnily enough, I suddenly got approached by some of their neighbours, requesting similar window cleaning services, so before long I had started my own little business.
- Formula 1 driver; one thing that really admires and scares me is that my granny still drives. She doesn’t just drive. She floors it around town, no matter what the weather conditions might throw at her. I do fear for my life when she offered me a lift, but politely accepted while clinging on to dear life when going around corners at 50 km/h. She would give Senna a run for his money!
- Golf; some elderly people look to do activities and enjoy walking in the local park, but my granny enjoy playing 18 holes of golf ever so often. And, the local golf club didn’t offer golf carts, so she walked the entire course. The good thing was that she couldn’t hit the ball too far, so she had more time to rest than others.
- Bridge; is a pretty advanced card game, requiring a high level of taking calculated risks, and my granny mastered the game. In fact, she humiliated me many times when trying to teach me the basics.
- Boyfriends; after my granddad died, years went by where she was perhaps a little lonely. This is pretty understandable, but suddenly she started to drag this elderly dude around behind her, who happened to be her new boyfriend … which she obviously denied. She also started to check out the “younger” guys at parties with her sister, making fun of these young men – 10-15 years younger. Not something that I really want to witness, but delighted she has fun.
- Ice cream money; I do admire my granny’s total lack of economy. I cannot count the amount of times she gave me 10 cents for a big ice cream, and insisted that i could get a huge ice cream for that amount, and not to waste it all. Not too sure what century one was able to get a large ice cream for 10 cent, with money leftover, but it was before my time. However, it’s the thought that counts, and I saved up all these coins so I one day could buy an ice cream.
I’m sure I could keep adding to the list, but I want to keep this post somewhat short. Grandparents are not that cool to have around when you are 20-25, but then they become cool again.
How many kids can say that their great-grandma is still alive? Not many to be honest. The tricky bit for my kids is that their great-grandma does not speak a single word of English, and the kids don’t speak Danish. But, the ability to wave to her on Skype, brag in school about her age and hopefully get chance to meet her in the near future is pretty cool.
My granny still lives in her own flat, drives her own car, has her own social life and enjoys spending time with her friends, despite the circle of friends reducing every year.
I love you granny!