The other night a good friend and I went to Molly's for dinner and then to see "Honeymoon in Vegas." I hate Elvis and Nicolas Cage, so I thought the movie would be stupid, but that's what my friend wanted to see. We laughed a lot.
My friend is 55 years older than I am, but we have a lot in common. We like traveling, and going to movies, and I'm sure I'd share her love of gambling if I ever got a chance. And I guess it doesn't hurt our friendship that one of her daughters is my mom.
My grandma inspires me. She can't drive a car, but she's cruised to Alaska and Hawaii. She moved to California several years ago to escape Missouri winters, but she comes to the Midwest every summer to visit three of her daughters, some cousins and a bunch of grandkids and great-grandkids.
I REMEMBER well the excitement that would build every summer until Grandma came. My parents both worked every day, and my younger sister and I were at home alone except when Grandma stayed with us. Then our days were filled with taking walks, playing cards and helping Grandma make her famous doughnuts.
As I got older, I started hearing the words I hear to this day when Grandma sees me leave to go out at night. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," she always says. "Well, hell, Grandma, you've done lots of things I've never done that I'd love to do. I'll have a great time tonight," I always say to myself.
The other night after we got home from seeing "Honeymoon In Vegas," Grandma suggested we raid my aunt and uncle's ice cream supply. She must have looked for chocolate syrup for a full 15 minutes before she would finally settle for a float instead of a banana split. We watched television until about 1 a.m., when Grandma was going to go to bed (after getting her nightly dose of a Harlequin romance, of course). But then Love Connection came on and she was glued to the set for another half hour. We both love that show.
GRANDMA can always dole out lots of helpful information without even being asked, too. Did you know that if you are going to be away from your house for several days that you should lay some hedgeballs around to keep the bugs out? I found that out when Grandma was trying to help my mom get the crickets off our back porch.
I think Grandma would go anywhere or do anything as long as it didn't require walking up too many stairs. She takes all kinds of trips on the senior citizen bus; for the past couple of years, she's gone to the Rose Bowl Parade. But the bus trips she loves most are the ones where slot machines are the final destination. The woman loves to gamble. I remember the time she called and was so excited because she won more nickels than she could carry.
THE OTHER day I was cleaning out my jeans pocket and ran across four quarters, and she promptly traded me for a dollar bill. She knew she'd be going through the airport at Reno, Nev., soon on her way home. She has to get back in time to go to a party with one of her friends.