The Fish Was Bad

grandma1 001I have been thinking of my Grandma Jahr for the last two days about nonstop.I don’t know why except that it is Lent and it reminded me of a story I tell about her.I want my grandkids to know what kind of person she was.I believe she is my reason for sanity and she was an amazing woman.She wasn’t afraid of anything and I want my grandkids to feel that way about me.She was sensible about most things but sometimes she sent me into orbit with some of her decisions and this is one of the reasons why.

After my Grandpa Jahr died my Grandma’s life changed.They lived a very structured life.She made every meal they ever ate and going out to eat was a rare treat.She now had more time to do things that she never had time to do when she was a farmers wife.I talked to her every day after I got out of work and she started to socialize with her widow friends more.Her best friend was Madeline Menzel and Madeline’s husband had passed away also.I never really liked Madeline much because she always seemed kind of mean but Grandma and her were friends since grade school days.They would go shopping and visiting other widows and I was glad she had someone to spend time with when I was at work.I would hear about their adventures after I got home and it was nothing for my ear to be sore after a talk with Grandma on the phone and this day was no exception.

I think I was home about five minutes when the phone rang and it was Grandma.

“Hi,Dilly, how are you.”

“Fine Grandma,what did you do today?”

“Well,Madeline picked me up and we went to the Big John’s for the fish dinner for lunch.”

My Grandma had a habit of putting the word THE in front of a lot of words.Like she always said cream of the mushroom soup.I loved it when she said stuff like that and I remember smiling when she said the Big John’s.It was a little restaurant in Caro about a half hour away from her house and I thought it was nice they went out to lunch together on a Wednesday.

“Well, that was nice Grandma.”

“No, not really because the fish was bad!”

“What do you mean the fish was bad?”

“The fish was so bad I couldn’t eat it.It was so greasy and it was cold.I wound up bringing it home for the cats and tomorrow when I go out I will give it to them.”

That didn’t surprise me because she would never waste the food.I just knew she was mad because she paid good money for bad fish.She went on—

“We weren’t the only ones there at the Big John’s.I saw Con and Vernita Curry and when Madeline went out to start the car I stopped to talk to them.”

The Curry’s were Grandma’s neighbors and Mrs.Curry did Grandma’s hair.I’m sure she was discussing the bad fish and taking her time doing it.

She went on.”I went out to get in the car and there was Madeline laying on the sidewalk.”

“Oh, my,goodness, was she hurt.”

“Well, no, she was dead.”

“What?”

“She was dead and I didn’t know how I was going to get home.I didn’t know if the cops would let me drive her car or if I could hitch a ride with the Curry’s because they were still in the Big John’s.”

“Grandma I am so sorry that Madeline died.”

“Well,she had a bad heart and I think she had a massive heart attack and it killed her. They took her drivers license away about a year ago because her heart was no good.”

“What in God’s name were you doing riding in the car with her if she was that sick?She could have died when you guys were driving down the road and then where would we be.I can’t believe you Grandma.I can’t have anything happen to you.”

“Well, she looked ok to me and I am alright so quit worrying and the Curry’s gave me a ride home so I didn’t have to drive Madeline’s car.”

I was thinking thank God because you haven’t had a license in twenty years!

My Grandma had to learn a lot of stuff after Grandpa died and she did.I taught her how to balance her checkbook and I helped her figure things out,but she taught me things until the very day she died.She wasn’t afraid of anything not even getting into a car with someone that shouldn’t be driving.I want to be like that for my grandkids.I want them to smile thinking of me like I am right now thinking of Grandma long after she is gone.I hope that they feel blessed to have had me and I hope that I drive them a little crazy too.I am thinking that’s what grandmas are supposed to do.Keep you on your toes.

I can’t end without this.Grandma I love you still and thank you for everything you ever did for me.You were always ready for the challenge even if it was the death of a friend.I think of the lessons you taught me on how to protect myself from hellish stepfathers and where to kick them if they attacked.I remember to keep God foremost in my life and to teach my grandkids like you did me.I still hear your sweet voice and I will never forget it.If mean Madeline made it to where you are I hope you and her are having a good time and that the fish is good.

three 001This is Grandma and Grandpa.My sister Linda on Grandpa’s lap and my sister Lori in Grandma’s arms.That’s me standing in the middle.