How to Live a Little Longer and a Little Happier

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My grandmother had a great sense of humor, regardless of the fact she survived two World Wars and The Great Depression.

And how appropriate at her funeral to have the funeral program print the words to the last song while the piano player plunked away at the notes to a different tune. It took us a while to figure it out but when we did we just laughed and said “Yup, grandma’s here. Who else would change the music at their own funeral? Good for grandma gettin’ us with one last laugh.”
Her name was Nelly and here are a couple Nelly isms.
Grandma, how do you feel today? “With my fingers just like yesterday.”
So grandma, how’s life? “Oh, life’s free but I brought some money just in case.”

My grandmother married my grandfather who bore a striking resemblance to Clark Gable. My grandfather was not a monogamous man. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor, smoked a lot, cussed a lot, and didn’t care if his grandchildren were around or not. He passed long before our grandmother but that really wasn’t much of a surprise to anyone.

When my grandmother turned 90 I asked her how she lived so long and if there was a secret to it. She told me “Memories”. “Forget the bad and remember the good”. That got me to thinking about the trivial things in my life compared to the many times my grandfather had broken her heart over the years. I didn’t understand it, but she had an endless supply of forgiveness and compassion for him. They were married for more than 50 years.

My grandmother never met a chocolate she didn’t like. In her later years when she was in an assisted living home she would stockpile chocolates in her top dresser drawer beside her bed. Whenever I’d come up from the states to visit I’d visit her first, because unlike the rest of my family she was pretty calm and not much rattled her cage. During those visits she would tell me to “have a chocolate, you know where they are”. So I’d go to her dresser, open the drawer and pull out the box that was on top. Then she’d say “Well, don’t be greedy, pass ’em around”. The first time she said this I just froze and tried to figure out what she was talking about. She and I were the only ones in the room. So she reached over, grabbed the chocolates, and said “Thank You!” in the sweetest high pitched voice you could imagine. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the situation and lucky for me she did too.

After I had gone through my divorce I was pretty low in the cash flow department. In order to expedite the divorce I agreed to everything and had even co-signed on a new car for my ex-wife.

When my grandmother found out what I had done she sent me a card with a cashier’s check for one thousand dollars. I was used to getting cards from her but when I opened this one up, I could hardly believe what I saw. And to top it off on the card she just wrote: “Get yourself some fresh chocolates”. This money made the difference between me being homeless or not.

Later when my aunt and cousins found out about this, they were not very happy with me. But, it was really none of their business. To this day I think about my grandmother whenever I get a box of chocolates and I think “who can I share these with”.


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