The Judicial Blintz

, , , , , | Legal | August 19, 2018

(This takes place many years ago. My great-grandmother is in court to become a US citizen, when this happens.)

Judge: “What are the three branches of government?”

Great-Grandmother: “Executive, Legislative, and Jewish.”

Judge: “You’re Jewish?”

Great-Grandmother: “Yeah.”

Judge: “Do you know how to make blintzes?”

Great-Grandmother: “Yes, of course.”

Judge: “My wife tries to make them, but they always fall apart. What should she do differently?”

Great-Grandmother: *gives blintz-making advice that sadly has been lost to time*

Judge: “I’m approving your citizenship application. Congratulations.”

An Army/Navy Family

, , , , | Related | August 18, 2018

(As my grandmother has gotten older, her memory has unfortunately started to get worse. Whenever I visit, I ask her to tell me family stories or look with me through memorabilia she’s collected throughout her life. This is to help jog her memory, but also so I can write things down I think the rest of the family would like to remember. One day, we’re looking through a photo album together, and we come across a photo of my grandfather in his Army uniform.)

Me: “Wasn’t Grandpa so handsome?!”

Grandma: “Oh, yes! This was the picture he gave me before he left to fight in WWII.”

(We flip a few more pages, and a wallet-sized photo drops out from between two pages. I pick it up, and it’s of another young man I don’t recognize, dressed in a Navy uniform.)

Me: “Grandma, who is this? Is this Grandpa’s brother?”

Grandma: *squints at the picture* “I haven’t seen that in years! That was [Man]. He was a Navy man, you see?”

Me: “Was he a friend of yours and Grandpa’s?”

Grandma: “Sort of. He was the other young man I was dating at the time.”

Me: *trying not to sound too surprised* “What?!”

Grandma: *shrugs* “You know, girls always dated more than one fella back then, unless someone asked us to go steady. It was very casual. Why you young folks want to go steady with someone you’ve only had one date with is beyond me.”

Me: *trying not to laugh* “I’m assuming [Man] went to fight in the war, too?”

Grandma: *sighs* “Yes, he left right after your grandpa did.”

Me: “So, what made you choose Grandpa in the end?”

Grandma: “Hmm? Oh, because he came back first.”

Me: *now I’m losing it* “Grandma! That’s the only reason?”

(She just smiled at me before putting the Navy beau’s picture back in the album and going to make us some tea. While I hope this other man made it safely back from the war and lived a full life, I’m also grateful she chose my grandpa because, you know, I’m alive thanks to that decision. Funny how life works, isn’t it?)

Build A Psycho Factory

, , , , | Related | August 17, 2018

(I am with my daughter and three-year-old granddaughter, taking her to a children’s store where you can build your own stuffed teddy bears. Part of the process is to pick the “heart” of your bear.)

Employee: *to Granddaughter* “This is the heart of your bear.”

Granddaughter: *eyes wide* “Ooh.”

Employee: “You need to give it a kiss, before we put it in your bear. That way your bear knows that you love him.”

(She kisses the “heart,” and then it’s placed into the stuffing in the bear’s chest. It’s then sent off to be made, with all the customised eyes, noses, clothes, etc. Later, we’re home, and my granddaughter comes over with her new bear.)

Granddaughter: “Heart.”

Me: “Yes, darling, your bear has a big heart.”

Granddaughter: “I want my heart.”

Me: “What do you mean, darling?”

Granddaughter: “It’s my heart.” *thrusts bear at me* “I want it.”

Me: “Oh, no, dear. The heart stays inside the bear. That’s how he knows you love him. He needs it to stay inside him.”

(My granddaughter ponders this for a moment, and then smiles.)

Granddaughter: “Okay!”

(She then wanders away. I follow her and see her looking around the kitchen.)

Me: *thinking she wants a snack* “What are you looking for, darling?”

Granddaughter: “Scissors.”

Not A Very Moving Story

, , , , , | Related | August 12, 2018

After my grandfather won his battle with cancer, they were supposed to move. He decided to wait until he got the all-clear: three years of screening. I endorsed this decision. His health and safety came first, and after all, these doctors had beaten the cancer once before.

The three years pass, and he and Grandma move back to their hometown, in the mountains. About a year in, Grandma starts having breathing difficulties. The doctor says that she needs oxygen in the higher elevations. The mountains are bad for her. After plenty of trips to family who are all at sea level, we learn that she has no difficulty breathing in lower elevations.

I ask my grandfather if they’re going to move for her health and safety. He tells me it’s too much trouble.

Funerals Don’t Have To Be Funereal

, , , , , , , | Related | August 6, 2018

My great, great grandmother was quite a character all her life. When she passed away, the family gathered for the funeral, and milled around, sharing stories in subdued voices about memories of her.

Shortly before everyone began to file into the room, the funeral director came in. He was looking very frazzled, and wringing his hands. He apologized profusely, and said that the funeral couldn’t start yet; her body wasn’t there!

Apparently, the morgue sent her to the wrong funeral parlor, in an entirely different city! The hearse was on its way to pick her up, but… well… the funeral was going to be delayed.

There was a beat of silence, and then the entire family managed to start laughing.

My great, great grandma had always told the family that she was always late, and would likely be late to her own funeral. She was! About two hours late to be exact.

The story is now family legend, of how great, great grandma was late to her own funeral, and it was the one family funeral that was conducted with snickers and giggling.

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