I usually went to see my grandmother every Thursday so was very surprised when I got her urgent call to come see her on Wednesday. I heard the message on my answering machine. She needed me today.
My husband, Ray, was busy working on his sermon for the following Sunday so I rearranged some of my appointments and left within the hour. I knew Grandmother would be having breakfast downstairs in the dining hall of the fancy senior center where she now had an apartment. It would be a waste of time to try and call her.
My grandmother had been my best friend as I was going up and nothing had changed once I became an adult. She had been there through all my ups and downs. I had been there for her as well. It was an unspoken pact we had. Nothing had changed even though she was (at this time) in her 80’s and I had survived being a widow and was once again married. We talked about absolutely everything; nothing seemed to be off-limits.
When I arrived I found her just leaving the dining hall and headed towards the elevators. We greeted and hugged and then she said, “I gotta’ get you to take me to the drug store. Let’s go upstairs and I’ll tell you what’s new around here.”
I could not even imagine. It had only been a week since I had been here. I knew she had started dating one of the men in the building but knew very little else. When we got on the elevator another woman got on with us. She and grandmother nodded to each other. I noticed grandmother’s face had turned beet red and she quickly lowered her eyes and stared at the floor. “I want you to try my new recipe. I just know Ray will love it. You can fix it for him on Sunday.” I had no idea what she was talking about but went along with it. “That would be wonderful.” She glanced up at me as if to say, “Thank you.”
She did not introduce me to the woman nor did she say a word to her during the entire ride. The woman got out on the floor below my grandmother’s. When the door closed grandmother signed loudly and said, “That little b-witch is after my Louis. I am goin’ to make it so it ain’t so nice for her or him for that matter, but I gotta’ get to the drug store or it ain’t gonna’ work.” My curiosity was going wild at this point. I started to say something but grandmother had anticipated it and put up both her hands, palm facing me as if I was holding her at gunpoint. “Shhhh….” is all she said.
The doors opened and she put her finger to her lips and ushered me down the hall. She used a key and opened the door to an apartment that was not her own. I suspected it was Louis’s apartment. She quietly went into the bathroom cabinet and took out a prescription bottle and then just as quietly ushered me out with her. I followed her. I was very confused. We finally got to her apartment and went inside.
Grandmother let out a big sigh and patted her chest as if she were some spy. She said “Sit down honey, please, don’t think badly of me. I’m going to tell you something that might shock you.” I sat down on the bed where she had patted. She sat down in the chair beside the bed. I glanced down at the floor and noticed a pair of men’s slippers under the bed. I was surprised but did not let it show. “First, nothing I’m going to tell you is to go further than this room. Do not tell your mother or even Ray about this. Do you understand?” I shook my head to the affirmative.
“I am, or I was, having an affair with Louis.” She paused to see if I would look shocked. I motioned for her to continue without any fan fare. “Well, it started sometime back and everything was goin’ great. Then that woman moved in downstairs. She saw Louis and I eating together, playing dominoes, and even going to the ballroom dance together. She knew we were (she winked) an item. She then paused and took a deep breath.
“Well, have you ever heard of Viagra?” I giggled inside and just smiled and said, “Yes, dear, I have.” Well, Louis has to use it. You know he is older than me.” I am thinking to myself, you are 83 so how old is he? She continued, “Now before you say anything, I am not of a mind to face your mother’s look about me living in sin nor face Lilly’s scorn for knocking it when she did it either.” Lilly, her older sister had an affair when she was 103 that was blamed for her boyfriend’s death. He was only 106 when he died. “I don’t want to get married again. It would only mess up our social security and our pensions. We just want a little sex and companionship. In order to do that at our age, we gotta’ have help.” Again, I nodded. I could not believe my ears but enchanted to learn yet another facet of this wonderful woman. I gave her an understanding pat on the shoulder and motioned her to continue.
“That, she-devil, started taking him dinners and deserts and cookin’ for him. She invited herself over. Louis is a kind man and would never be rude. I decided to fix it so she would only get the companion side of Louis. It took me a while, but I found a baby medication that turned out to be a laxative that looks just like Viagra. I replaced all his pills with the baby laxative. I have all his real Viagra here in this drawer. Now he thinks her cookin’ gives him the runs. But the best part is he thinks I’m the only one he can you know (she winks again) turn him on.” He just got a new prescription yesterday. I know she is cookin’ up a storm. I had to get to the store today to replace these pills.” I was grinning and giggled a little. I never realized until that moment that Grandmother was a true Southern Woman right down to the lace on her girdle. We gathered up what she needed and headed to the drug store. I briefly thought about the pearl-handled revolver her grandmother wore in her garter belt. Grandmother had come from some strong stock for sure.
When we got back we chatted as she made the pill exchange and returned the prescription bottle to Louis’s medicine cabinet. I asked, “Where is Louis today?” Oh, his son came and got him last night so he won’t be back until this evening. That is why we had to do this quick before this evening when he gets back.” We visited a little more. I had to ask, “Aren’t you angry at Louis for cheating on you?” She stopped and looked almost past me and said, “You got to understand men. They gotta think they are in charge. I never told Louis we were exclusive. I even let him see me eating with a couple of other guys. They were harmless from the waist down, but he did not know that. Men don’t tell other men when the “conductor” ain’t workin’ if you know what I mean.” I had to laugh. Still the Southern lady at heart. The “conductor,” the one in charge, she always said. When the conductor is happy the music is sweet.
Then she started staring out the window and then started laughing really hard. I could not stand it. “What is so funny?” She said, “I’m just wicked. You know Louis has some bad memory problems. That is why he is in here. His son did not want him to live alone anymore. I did some research on this Viagra. They have spent more money on developing it than they have researching memory loss in the elderly. Louis also had a problem with it once because his erection lasted for about 3 hours. I have learned by cutting the pill in half everything works fine. Full strength is dangerous for the poor guy. I’m doin’ him a favor.” She laughed so hard tears were coming down her cheeks and she could not catch her breath. Then she said, “I just had the thought. What if I had left his prescription alone? If that b-witch had gone over there we might have seen the headline in the paper, ‘Woman raped… man escapes on Pogo stick.’” Grandmother slapped her knee and threw her head back laughing. I joined her. She then said, “He would not remember it by the time they caught him that is for sure. You don’t know how many times we have had ‘our first time’.” She giggled again.
I looked at this wonderful woman. She stood 4’11” with a peaches and cream complexion, hazel eyes, and auburn hair. Only one time did I ever see her white roots and that was just before she disappeared into the bathroom with a bottle of hair dye. She was always a lady. It was nice to know she was keeping up with her exercises; as she called it. She was still just as sharp then as she was when I was just a kid. Oh, how I miss her. I hope I have not offended anyone with this memory. It is one of my favorite giggles. You are never too old to remember the good times.
Her attitude was always one of her best qualities. I giggle every time I stumble across this memory in my mind. I remember how delighted she was that Louis never could figure out how she knew when he had “thought” about cheating on her. “Poor man got the runs every single time.” She said she was always good at sharing but not when it came to her exercise partner. You don’t ever turn into a nag where a man is concerned. Don’t tell them they can’t go shoppin’. They will always want to do exactly what they ain’t supposed to do. Just to prove they are in charge. No, it is best to make sure they ain’t got nothin’ to go shoppin’ with.”
I asked her how she got the key to his apartment. She said it was easy. “On his birthday I gave him a 10-gallon aquarium and several plants to cheer up his little apartment and to help him relax. His son comes and gets him often for trips that sometimes last 10 days or longer. I knew if I offered to take care of his fish and his plants he would give me a key. I did not ask for it. That would be unladylike.” Grandmother fluttered her eyelashes at me and grinned. Then she continued. “He also knows he is never allowed into my place unless the hall is empty. He is never allowed to leave unless he is fully dressed and the hall is empty. That way if he brags, no one will believe him. Besides everyone around here thinks I am a prude and I would just like to not shatter their thoughts on the subject.”
She helped me understand that a man that still had both hips and did not need a walker was a very attractive thing in a senior citizen’s community. The women always outnumber the men. I know how to play bridge, but I am much better at dominoes.” She winked. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Those ole’ bitties round here just talk about other ole’ bitties. I just ain’t into tearing other people down. I just make sure not to give any of them any ammunition about me. They think I’m a prude, let them.” She glanced up at me with a grin, “I’ll never tell them differently.” She giggled a little and signed. There was a lot of sound advice in her words but the most valuable thing I learned was to keep livin’, stay true to yourself, and enjoy life every chance you get. Above all else be kind whenever possible.
I had asked her about foreplay during our visit. I was just curious about how they got started. I asked what was the first thing they did. She said, “Oh, that is an easy one. The first thing you do is wash it while the wrinkles are out.” We both giggled when she said that. She was a true treasure in my life. She taught me to laugh, to always be kind, and to be true to myself. That is a legacy that has served me well.
I know this is not my normal story, but it was such a wonderful memory I hope it is enjoyed in the spirit of love and respect for a lady who was a cherished lady in my life.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in