This fall, I started driving two little old ladies to get groceries once a week from the Windsor Assisted living program. Neither one has a driver’s license. Initially they were supposed to be driven separately but due to my scheduling, they have to ride together for the next couple of weeks. They are two very different ladies.
One is a “lady”, she always looks starched and ironed. Her hair is always in place, make up on. She has definite opinions about everything and anything. She used to teach school before she got married, and she has been a farm wife. She likes to read, watches CNN and was very active with the League of Women Voters before she had to give up driving due to cataracts.
The other lady is the typical grandma, who looks like she lives for hugs, and always smells vaguely of fresh baked bread. She believes in comfort before style. Colorful sweaters, and her feet are always shod in her othropedic runners with bright socks. She smiles a lot and loves to just look around. She likes bingo, faithfully buys one lottery ticket and loves sweets. Her favorite channel is TCM.
The grocery store has been growing curious as I bring them every week. I’ve been asked why I am able to bring both of my grandmothers in. Lady number 1 has a cane and she uses it to gesture with when she can’t always make herself understood. Particularly at the meat counter, the cane is used for pointing. She refuses to buy hamburger in the package, she want fresh ground chuck. Nothing else will do. She notices every little thing, from the fact that the prices are going up, or the cans have gotten smaller. Yesterday, she noticed that the poor checker charged her for the red potatoes not the Yukon gold as asked. The poor checker stammered but Ma’am, the red potatoes are cheaper! Lady #1 gave a *sniff*, and a look of death, as she stated, “But I am not buying red potatoes!” He re-scanned and fixed the receipt.
Lady #2 , on the other hand, always has coupons, but difficulty finding the exact items, that the coupon specifies. She loves BOGO coupoons. She will buy things just to use the coupon. Yesterday I thought Lady #1 was going to clonk Lady #2 over the head with her cane right in the middle of the pasta aisle . Lady #2 had spent six minutes dithering over the two types of spaghetti sauce, when she only had the coupon for one of the sauces.
At long last, we are finally through the grocery line, and we were driving them back home. I share with them stories about my family. They have both been particularly interested in Katy, and all that she does. Lady #1 in particular has been very impressed that Katy plays sports and that Sean and I encourage that. So yesterday, (as warned by the assisted living staff, they will try to give you things.. Say NO!) they both offered to pay for Katy’s fee for volleyball. I was very touched, and said thank you but no. They had asked at the recreation center how much volleyball was, so they were prepared to each give me $25.
Twenty-five dollars to these two ladies is a week of groceries. I was so touched and honored that they would do that for my daughter, who they have never met. So I again declined. Lady #1 was getting insulted so I explained that club volleyball was an entirely different fee structure. They persisted in wanting to know the cost. So I told them it was a lot and said we were fine with paying this fee. We wanted to do this for Katy. They would not give it a rest, so I caved, and told them how much exactly it was… $2300 or so. That’s not adding in the trips to Reno and Atlanta if necessary.
They both looked like I had hit them. The look of shock was priceless. Lady #1 finally took a breath, and “Melissa, we bought our first house for $1800!” Lady #2 response was “Did you get a coupon?”
I snickered about that all the way home. And then I started thinking. $25 is not very much money to me. It’s a tank of gas, a lunch out. For Santa Cops, twenty five dollars, is five toys from Walmart. For my ladies, it is a weeks worth of groceries. Keep in mind, they are single ladies, who only cook and eat for one. $25 is not a lot of money to me, but it is priceless to some. It is all a matter of perspective.