Today I spent several hours hanging out with and helping my 91-year old great-grandmother.
She lives by herself, in a two-story house.
She is surrounded by things she loves.
But she gets lonely.
So we went out for lunch and argued over who was going to buy the Hershy's bar for dessert (I won). Then I helped her take down, wash, and put back at least fifty pieces of her huge knick-knack collection.
She didn't want to do it by herself, she doesn't like climbing up on the ladder anymore. I'm so glad she asked me to help. Otherwise, I would have been worried sick about her falling.
I'm also glad because we got to spend time together, just the two of us.
She told me stories.
Stories about her past, tales and details about the pitchers, plates, teacups, and various other items we cleaned.
I learned what "flow blue," Russian-cut glass, and German pickle jars look like.
I heard the story of her grandfather's favorite brother, who died when he was 17, and held the mottled blue and brown pitcher that he had given his mother. Heard the story of when her grandfather snuck said brother's beloved horse into the house to visit him when he was sick with diphtheria.
I learned about her great-grandfather, who came from Holland, bringing with him a gorgeous white pitcher with blue windmills. It's cracked, fragile.
Today I heard a lot of stories.
Today I heard so many facts about pottery, china, stoneware, and glass that I began to wonder if my grandma is the Sherlock Holmes of collectible dishes, knowing every random little piece of trivia and fact about them that can be known. Which led me to telling her about BBC's Sherlock, and her telling me she doesn't like the TV show, "Elementary," which is apparently a Sherlock-ish show.
Today I once more realized just how much I love my tiny, precious, spunky great-grandmother. How much I'm going to miss doing things like this with her.
If you have these kinds of opportunities with your grandparents, well, with anyone you love, don't waste them.
They are so special. Even if all you do is go to Arby's, clean antiques, and ramble through a hundred year's worth of subjects munching on Hershy's.