Saturday, September 30, 2006

That's how Nanny rolls...

Yesterday was the 26th aniversary of my grandfather's death, so my mother and I went to pick up my grandmother and take her to the cemetery. I know this sounds like sad times but it was 26 years ago so it's less sad and more just taking my grandmother so that she could hang out at his grave and we could be there with her. She wants to go, we go...but it's not a morbid thing.

Anyway, that aside. After my class yesterday, I drove up to Mum's house and then we both went to Nanny's to pick her up. My grandmother, as many who know me already understand, is quite a woman. She just turned 90 this summer and she still lives in the same house the family lived in shortly after they moved to Canada. Incidently, my own parents moved into a house 5 blocks away just before I was born, so I attended the same school as my aunt and uncle had before they lost their Scottish accents.

No...we're not Scottish. Short answer to follow:

Nanny grew up in Poland and was moved to Germany and then moved to Scotland where she reunited with my grandfather after 8 years of war estrangement. Her first exposure to English was in Scotland...which, as you can imagine really makes for a crazy accent in Canada...and then she had a stroke 6 years ago which left her with a mild aphasia. Her words are mixed up, in a nutshell. This is my grandmother's language history and why I will be writing the way I do when I quote her. I won't do the aphasia part as you are certain to not understand me then.

(By the way, my grandmother was taken, without choice, by the German army to Germany where she continued to live as a forced labourer for the rest of the war. She was 27 and she never went back to Poland. Anyone having problems with us seeking reparations for her during the short period they were available is invited to stick a carrot in their bottoms.)

So..where was I? Yes. So, we arrive at Nanny's house and she's insisting we go out to her backyard for reasons we weren't able to figure out but dutifully trotted out there anyway. Nanny has a pretty big yard, which she adores and she truly finds energy in tending to her garden. It is surrounded by a wooden fence, built -I believe- by one of my uncles maybe a decade ago. It's held up quite well, but probably could use a coat of paint by now. If you're my grandmother, it needed a coat of paint yesterday. 90 year old grandmother decided she was going to paint the durn fence. And she did...only 5 boards, but they were well and evenly painted. With a bath brush.

Yes. She painted 5 boards of her fence using the paint she found somewhere in her little metal shed (that I used to play house in countless times) and an old bathbrush. The kind that you use in the shower for your back that have soft bristles on the one side and hard knobs on the other for massaging.

Ahem. Again, because I think it bears repeating a third time. My 90 year old grandmother painted her fence with a bathbrush yesterday.

My mother, of course, protested. "Mum," she said, "we'll get someone to do it if you want it painted." Nanny just shrugged and sort of agreed. Then, after thinking about it for another minute, my mother added, "But it's fall, Mum. There's no point in doing it now, it's going to snow fairly soon."

My grandmother looked defiant as she slowly climbed the stairs back to her back porch, "I maybe no here springtime, but I wanting dis now, so I doing. You want in spring, you doing. I here today. I want today. I do today."

Mum and I looked at each other exaspirated but proud to be of this insane genetic line.

Nanny, as much as I adore the little package of pure stubborn ability, isn't the type of elderly woman that gives inspirational speeches. Most of what she says I do not enter under my internal category of 'sage advice'. But this...this little outburst I do interpret as wisdom and gladly file under the heading of 'words to live by'.

Thanks Nanny.

No comments:

Find me on MySpace and be my friend! D-List Blogger