Despite what you may have heard, my Grandma did not try and stab a woman we’ll call “Eugina” with her fork at lunch.
At least that’s what I was told when I sat down by Gram the other day in the dining room, her chair wheeled up to the table and clothing protector in place. While Lorraine was wheeled up on the other side of the table, Eugina’s spot was mysteriously vacant.
Dinner with Eugina—a large, loud woman from the South who looked like Oprah in “The Color Purple” but talked like a drunk auctioneer—was stressful, so I can’t say I was entirely disappointed with this development.
Eugina would shovel food in her mouth and loudly ramble on about things no one could understand. Gram and Lorraine would exchange cataract-filled looks across the table and ramble on in Polish I couldn’t understand, but that I interpreted as something of less than a stellar opinion of their dining companion.
(The first words you learn in a foreign language are usually those of a profane nature.)
“Put in a penny, get a whole goddam dollars worth of noise,” Gram has said on more than one occasion, a sentiment Lorraine would echo with a simple “amen” between bites of her mechanically processed meal.
As I sat across from Eugina’s empty chair, I was immediately given the defendant’s side of the claim.
“That floosy made up some story about how I tried to stab her hand with a fork at lunch,” Gram said, taking one more bite of her meatloaf before turning the fork around to point at me—a bit of incriminating evidence, but apparently done for emphasis. “Not that I could understand her, but I know what she was saying.”
She went on to tell me how the nurses had to calm Eugina down, but that they would have been more successful if they had just put more ice cream in front of her, as “the woman would eat shit on a shingle if you put it on her plate,” a sentiment Lorraine again echoed with a simple, “amen.”
At this point in the story, the dessert cart was rolled in, prompting many seniors to get twitchy and anxious like junkies awaiting their fix. While there are always several options, there are also always several complaints—the wrong flavor of pie or cake, cookies too hard or too soft—and usually from the same people.
“Why is there no cherry pie?” Irene asked, looking around to see if everyone else was as appalled at this development as her. “All I wanted was cherry pie, and what do they bring? Apple. Who brings apple pie?”
Richard, nursing his bottle of root beer like Corona, kindly told her “don’t get your tit in a wringer” before taking some pie for himself, a nugget of advice he dispensed often to both men and women.
Settled in with some sweets of her own, Gram turned her attention back to the matter at hand—literally.
“Why would I do such a thing as stab her?” Gram asked incredulously as she brought her hand up to her heart, revealing the Kleenex shoved up in her sleeve. “First of all, I was too busy worrying about my own food to think about sticking that woman with my fork.
“And second,” she continued, “if I were going to do it, I would have used the butter knife.”
No further questions, Your Honor.
*Apparently Eugina was moved to another wing on charges unrelated to the fork incident in question. Gram is in the clear—for now.
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I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee as copious amounts would have been blown out through my nose from the laughing. “Shit on a shingle,” haven’t heard that one in ages. My parents would routinely use that phrase. What is it about when we get older that the complaint-o-meter goes sky high about the most ridiculous stuff? I guess when you get to that age and are in a nursing home, the pie is the highlight of the day.
Irene’s right, who brings apple pie?
Hahah well as soon as you said “Eugina would shovel food in her mouth and loudly ramble on about things no one could understand.” I was like oh, I get it, that’s why Gram stabbed her with a fork. Makes sense.
Loved it! I’ve always taken comfort in the fact most old folk homes probably have enough medical equipment and whatnot around that I could always fashion a shiv of SOME sort if necessary.
Hey did something change with your comments? It made me use my WP account… did it always do that?
I haven’t touched anything with the blog–I wouldn’t know what to do, anyway–so I don’t know why it made you use your WP account. Hopefully no one else has a problem. Maybe you’re just a weirdo.
lol I could see all this happening!
That was such a wonderful description! It made me laugh as I shoved food in my mouth!
I loved the comment about the butcher’s knife. It’s a good job I wasn’t drinking anything at the time or I’d have spat it all over the computer screen!
I worked in a seniors home. You are right on the mark. And if i had a nickel for everytime I heard don’t get your tit in a wringer, well…
Ahh…the wisdom from our elders. It is good advice! 😉
This is precisely the type of story that makes me excited for law school finals to end (Dec. 20!) so I can buy your book, relax in bed, and laugh my ass off. In addition, I LOVE cats so the fact that your book is for such a great cause is an (unnecessary but wonderful) added benefit. I look forward to your posts and get very excited to see them pop up in my google reader. As someone who has been dealing with OCD since age 13 and recently overcoming eating issues, I often am able to identify with your more personal posts. You tend to underestimate how great your writing is, but just know that you do make a difference in my day every time you post =)
I’ve actually witnessed someone stab another person in the hand with a fork for trying to steal food off of her plate. It sounds very similar to when you poke holes in a baked potato with a fork. It makes me cringe remembering it.
Loved this. My gram ALWAYS had a kleenex wadded up in the sleeve of her sweater. Good memory.
No jury would convict her.
And Lord help them if they tried.
I really love someone who can make me laugh this hard. You are better than Xanax.
If I’ve weaned you off Xanax, send it my way.
Ah, “shit on a shingle.” Right up there with “what crawled up you and died” from my dad after someone left the bathroom stinky.
“The woman would eat shit on a shingle..”
That’s it. I’m making this into a t-shirt.
You should write a show based on these real-life experiences. I would totally watch it.
I had forgotten all about the word “Floosy.”
It is a completely underappreciated word and I intend to bring it back into my vocabulary right now.
What does it mean if more and more of your senior sayings are starting to sound familiar? I recognized every one in this posts- from my elders.
As for Kleenex up the sleeve I have reached that stage in life so can’t mock it anymore but oh, my Grandma had a whole box up there. That and peppermint candies.
Thanks for the laughs!
Every time I read your senior moments posts, I think about my future time at a retirement/nursing home and what I will be like. It might sound morbid, but the thought of being a tad bat-shit crazy at that age and concerned with things like pie.
I’m thinking I should learn a second language before that time comes so I can have secret cross-table conversations like your Gram.
Brilliantly related, had me chuckling. 🙂
You nailed it with this line: “At this point in the story, the dessert cart was rolled in, prompting many seniors to get twitchy and anxious like junkies awaiting their fix.” I had a vision of my mother in law as I read this. Loved this post!
I was just telling John how much I would have loved at least one grandmother (all of them Polish) to see me get married / see the boys. But what I really miss is this, my gram accusing people of sabatoging her Bingo markers or stealing her chocolates…thanks for the glimpses of that through your gram. She makes me giggle….”amen”
I love hearing stories like this. When my Nana was alive she was a source of great entertainment for me. My favorite was when her doctor made the mistake of sitting on the edge of her hospital bed and she thought he was cute and reached over and pinched his butt. He got up and left the room and never came back.
Old people are hilarious.
I haven’t really had many elderly family members who were near enough to visit, or survived long enough once in a home. . .
But my great aunt once threw a fit when her daughter wouldn’t let her have her ice cream without finishing her mock chicken. I was maybe 12, but I remember thinking it must suck to be all grown up and not able to eat your ice cream first.
If I was going to stab my obnoxious dinner companion, though, I’d go with the fork. Much more stabby than a butter knife. For the record.
I absolutely love her reasoning that she would never use a fork but a butterknife instead. Wise words. Wise words.