This morning, I was awoken from not quite enough hours of sleep by a phone call from my mom. She asked me if I was up – I’m sure the answer was obvious by the fact that I spoke no actual words during the entire exchange – and she responded to my mumbling with, “Great! You can take Mommom to the hospital to get xrays. She’s waiting for you now.”
Suddenly, I was awake. “Mom. Seriously. I have to–”
“Take your grandmother to the hospital, Kari. She’s waiting.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandmother. Beyond belief. But nothing is simple with her, and I knew that this would turn into some level of a minor ordeal, or, at the very least, take way longer than it should, for any possible number of reasons.
Regardless, I wasn’t given much choice, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have said ‘no’ anyway. I got up, put on a pair of jeans, brushed my teeth, did something with my hair (I’m not even sure what. Still.) and left. It snowed last night, and the mustang was generally unhappy with the cold weather, but I made it down the road, where my grandmother had the car warming (she used her automatic start from the house), and my grandfather had just pulled up in his Cadillac Escalade (These are important details – you’ll need to recall them late on in the story. Trust me.).
After some wrestling with the snow, arguing with my grandfather about the order in which he should sweep the snow off of my grandmother’s truck and shovel around it, (he actually told me he didn’t- and wouldn’t- ask a woman’s opinion on those matters… ugh.) my grandmother and I were finally on our way. We actually made it to the hospital and through the entire experience without much trouble or event. I was pleasantly surprised.
As a reward for my rockin’ granddaughter status and using my entire morning to hang out in Elmer hospital, she decided that she would treat us both to “breakfast” (even though it was well past noon) at the Elmer Diner. This is when things got interesting.
After pulling into the Diner’s parking lot, taking a lot of unnecessary parking instruction from my grandmother, and getting her out of her Yukon, we tackled the handicap ramped entrance to the restaurant. Water from the melting snow was pouring off of the overhang to the ramp and conveniently landed in the middle of the walkway, rendering me wetter than I’d like as my grandmother remained generally oblivious. As we approached mid-ramp, with four or five other elderly people behind us, my grandmother spotted a penny.
Mommom: OOOHHH – A penny!
Sure enough, when I glanced down at our feet, I saw it. Shiny, copper colored, and glinting from being equally as wet as I was.”Oh, yeah. Look at that” was all the enthusiasm I could muster.
Instead of walking past it and continuing into the diner, she continued to stare down at it. The people who were walking the ramp behind us had now stopped, surely wondering why no one was moving.
Mommom: It’s a penny! I need to get it, I’m going to try to– I can’t get it.
Me: It’s alright, it’s just a penny -we can just go in–
Mommom: OH! ANOTHER penny! We can’t just leave them there. Finding change means that the angels are watching over me.
(Notice how she said “me” and not “us” … )
Me: Mommom, seriously. There are people behind us trying to get into the diner.
Mommom: OH MY GOODNESS, A DIME! AND A QUARTER!!!
Me: Mommom….. There are people–
Mommom: Well, let them go around us. The angels are watching over me!
I stepped to the side – more directly into the stream of water pouring from the roof – and allowed the still-confused pack of elderly people walk by.
Mommom: KARIANNE. Get those.
I glanced down at the scattering of change on the ramp, up at the water, and started picking up the coins. Something about the use of my full name and knowing that unless I did we would never actually make it into the diner, and therefore I would never make it home, compelled me to do the job, and to do it well.
We moved slowly up the ramp, each time a coin was found my grandmother would hover over it like a bird protecting its young until I could get to it. Almost every time I had to gently point out that I couldn’t pick up the coin in question if she was standing on it.
I collected a grand total of 58 cents. And, when we finally made it to a table, she put all of the coins in her “angel” bag – a small bag she apparently keeps specifically for found change (you know, the change that means the angels are watching over you.)
At the end of the meal, she sent me to pay the $15.56 check. Handing me a 100 dollar bill and sixty cents (NOT from the “angel bag”) she instructed me to make sure that I counted the change myself when I got it back.
When I was about 10 feet away from the table, she yelled. “And, Karianne, I do NOT want the pennies back.”