December started with my grandmother in the hospital with pneumonia. I’m happy to say that she beat it, turned 99 the week after, and complained about not getting out in 3 days, instead of what ended up being almost 2 weeks. I kept having to remind her that pneumonia kicks the ass of humans a fifth of her age.

“But it’s so boring here!”
“I know. Want to play cards?”
“Too tired.”
“Ok, I’ll deal.”

I laid out two piles of cards.

“Alright. What game are we playing?”
I suck at cards, so I said “I don’t know. You choose.”
She thought about it for a second and said, “We’ll play the game where the winner ends up with all the cards.”
“How does that work?”
“Like this.”

Which is when she collected both piles. Even with an oxygen tube, she’s still pretty swift.

We’ve since moved her to a convalescent home. It’s bright and sunny and the residents do crosswords and play bingo. My grandmother doesn’t think much about bingo. She’s always been more of a Bridge kinda gal.

She felt guilty about how often we were all visiting, so when I had my office party, she was like, “Go. Have fun! Don’t worry about me.”


So I went, and it was just like last year: cocktails, dinner, loud music, and an escape to the Irish pub with some colleagues.

By the time I showed up, Bob and Carol were already there with their friend Susan. Susan was pretty. Pretty drunk. Or so I thought, until Carol filled me in, “Oh she’s always like this.”

We talked a lot. About traditional Irish music which I knew little about, and Billy Bragg who I know more about. It was cool. Especially with her buying me drinks.

The band got looser. The guy playing the tin whistle switched to a Telecaster and the duo did a kick ass version of I Walk The Line. She showed me her wrist tattoos. The left said “Saves”. The right said “Jesus”. I looked at Carol, who laughed. Susan bought me another pint. Bob went out for a smoke.

Susan was soon sitting next to me thrusting her iPhone in my face with intent.

“Find a way…to get my number…into your phone…and call me…”
“Or else I’ll fucking kill you.”

Focus….her phone…my number…no…her number…my phone…her number…phone…

Then Bob was talking to me, “Hey Mike, this is Joe. Susan’s husband.”
“Oh hey, hi.” *Shakes Joe’s hand*
But Susan was persistent, “You got it? My number?”
“Oh yeah, I got it. It’s in here” *points to forehead*

On our way to the car, I was just a little curious.

“So Carol. At what point were you going to tell me she was married?”
“Didn’t you see the ring?”
“No actually. I didn’t.”

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