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The Ending Is Up-Beet

, , , , , , | Related | February 8, 2021

Since my grandma died, my eighty-nine-year-old grandad has stubbornly decided to live on his own. He is still quite able and independent, so the family respects this, but I am often on-call to deal with anything he needs help with, including medical appointments.

One Friday evening, I get a call from my mother who lives five hours away.

Mum: “You need to meet [Grandad] at the hospital!”

Me: “Oh, no! What happened?!”

Mum: “He found blood in his stool and he’s going to get checked out. I told him to wait for you but you know what he’s like. Please meet him there and wait with him.”

I head out without delay and meet him there. The doctor is very quick and schedules the tests. I wait with him throughout the night; sadly, the place is very busy, and we have to wait until midnight. He gets called in for the test, and we are told to wait for a phone call on Monday.

We head home, and as my grandad settles in, I do what I usually do when I visit him and check his fridge and cupboards to assess his food supply. My grandma was the cook, and since her passing, my grandad only really cooks ready-meals, which he enjoys, so everyone is fine. I open the fridge and spot something I can’t ignore.

Me: “Grandad, why are there ten packs of chopped beetroot in the fridge?”

Grandad: *Quite proudly* “They were on sale as they’re going off soon! I bought all of them!”

Me: “Have you been eating all of these? For how long? There is a lot here!”

Grandad: “I couldn’t be bothered to cook the other day, so I just had a big bowl of the beetroot while I watched the telly.”

Me: *Bridging my nose* “Grandad, do you think the ‘blood’ you saw in your stool might have been the ridiculous amount of beetroot you’ve been eating for the last few days?”

My grandad sits there for a moment until he realises what I have implied.

Grandad: “Now that I think about it…”

On Monday morning, the hospital calls and confirms my hypothesis when I tell them. Their response?

Hospital: “At least he’s getting his antioxidants!”


This story is part of our Best Of February 2021 roundup!

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Never Too Big To Be Grandma’s Little ‘Un

, , , , , | Related | February 3, 2021

My grandma has a habit of always referring to me, her only grandchild, as “the little ‘un”. When she is talking TO me, she just calls me by my name, or something like “darling” or “sweetie” — or “rascal” if I am misbehaving — but if she is talking ABOUT me, even if I am in the same room, she always calls me “the little ‘un”. This continues into my teenage years, and when I leave for university. I don’t mind it; I actually think it’s kind of sweet. But at one point, my aunt starts to think that I am getting too old for the nickname, and she has the following conversation with Grandma, which she later recounts to me.

Grandma: “Good thing the little ‘un is coming to visit this weekend; my radio is acting up again and she fixed it last time.”

Aunt: “Yeah, but Mom, seriously. [My Name] is twenty-one, at university, and living on her own, not to mention nearly a head taller than both of us, and neither of us is small to begin with. Don’t you think it’s time you stopped calling her ‘the little ‘un’?”

Grandma: *Smugly* “Nuh-uh! Doesn’t matter if she grows two meters tall and becomes a professor. She’ll always be my little ‘un!”

And she kept referring to me as “the little ‘un” until the day she died. I miss her.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

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You Claw Her, She’ll Claw You Right Back

, , , , | Related | January 20, 2021

I am the author of this story. In September of 2020, I get another cat — a kitten, actually — and she was recently spayed. When she gets home, she keeps taking the cone off, so I get the idea to use safety pins to tighten the fabric around her neck. Unfortunately, I do not keep safety pins in the house, so I call Nana.

Me: “Do you have any safety pins? Pumpkin keeps taking off her cone, and I need to stick her.”

Nana: *Pause* “I don’t think you want to do that. That might hurt her.”

Me: “I meant, stick the fabric around the cone and tighten it so she can’t take it off anymore!”

Nana: “That makes more sense than sticking her.”

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Shields Up!

, , , , , | Related | January 8, 2021

When my great-great-grandmother began to develop dementia, she started throwing things at people when they came through the door of her room. Sometimes it was a book, sometimes a water glass — whatever was handy. Nobody was quite sure what to do about this, except my grandmother — her granddaughter — who was then a slightly cocky seventeen-year-old.

Grandmother: “Grandma, you really shouldn’t throw things at people.”

Great-Great-Grandmother: “Why not?”

Grandmother: “Well… you could hurt someone!”

Great-Great-Grandmother: “Oh. Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll warn people before I throw things!”

For the rest of her life, that’s what she did. She would yell, “Look out, look out, coming through the door!” whenever she had a visitor.

Everyone knew that when they were coming to visit her, they should open the door and step in slightly, and then step back and use the door to shield themselves. Once the thing was thrown, they would be able to come in normally.

[Great-Great-Grandmother] never did stop throwing things, thanks to the dementia, but at least she didn’t want to hurt anyone.

Late Thanks Are Better Than None

, , , | Related | January 6, 2021

This happens nearly forty years ago. My grandparents are hosting a family affair and they just returned from a voyage. At one point, my grandmother harrumphs.

Mom: “Something wrong?”

Grandmother: “I just think it is impolite not to say thank you if you receive something, even if it is just a postcard.” 

Mom: *Confused* “What postcard?”

Grandmother: “The nice postcard we sent from France.”

Mom: “I am sorry, we didn’t get a postcard, or I would have mentioned it.”

Grandmother: “Well, we cared enough to send a card, and the least you can do is to say thanks.”

Mom: “I am sorry, but no card was received.”

My grandmother does not believe her and makes a really big deal out of it. Fast forward six months, and what does Mom retrieve from the letterbox? You guessed it in one: a postcard from France signed by my grandparents. My mom immediately calls my grandmother.

Mom: “I just called to say thanks for the postcard.”

Grandmother: “Which postcard?”

Mom: “The one you send from France.”

Grandmother: “But that was six months ago.”

Mom: “I know, but the card arrived today and I know how much you value a response.”

Grandmother: “But that was six months ago.”

She still didn’t believe my mom.