So Nana and Grandpa decided to take my sister (who was under 10 at the time) to see a cute Disney movie called Animal House. They spent most of the movie covering her eyes and laughing their heads off.
Grandpa was a bowler. Nana was a knitter. Much of our weekends were spent at the bowling ally watching Nana create afghans. I hated bowling. I still do. Grandpa tried to turn me into Earl Anthony but it didn’t interest me in the least. Bowling isn’t a sport, it’s a big video game.
Grandpa played pool at the bowling ally when he wasn’t bowling. He tried to teach me that too. He had no patience at all. I also ended up hating pool.
I’m not sure what I did at the bowling ally for all of those hours. Nana knew every single person there. If she didn’t know you already, she was your best friend by the end of the tenth frame. Everybody loved Nana. I’ve never met a greater conversationalist and I know I never will. So I spent a lot of time meeting people and being told how cute I was and that I was being a good boy.
Grandpa was a salesman and Nana went everywhere with him. I spent many Mondays and Fridays on the road with them. I remember the games that we’d play in the car. We’d name a geographical location, like Connecticut, and the next person would have to come up with one that began with the letter that the previous name ended with.
We’d always finish the day by eating out at Mr. Steak or some other fancy place. When the waitress brought the bill to Grandpa, he’d point to Nana and say, “Give the bill to my mother.”
Nana would collect things from restaurants, especially the little plastic jelly containers. She’d dump them and whatever else she could, including packets of artificial sweetener into her pocketbook. She’d have little containers and take whatever else she could… even at buffets. We would leave their house with plastic bags full of jellies.
She also did something that, when I look back at it, was really unique and clever. She collected the place-mats from every single place that they ate at. If she couldn’t keep hers clean during dinner, she’d ask for a clean one. She would give them to me every single time I saw her. It was a fantastic idea especially back then when each restaurant had their name and other information on them. I regret that I didn’t keep them. I can remember the day I got rid of them as a teen.
COMING UP NEXT: GRANDPA ORDERS A MEDIUM-RARE HAMBURGER FROM McDONALD’S AND CAUSES A SCENE WHEN IT COMES BACK WELL-DONE.