The best Christmas ever?
I suppose it all depends upon your perspective.
That was the announcement Granddad made while the mere three of us sat around the dinner table Christmas Day.
And he said it more than once, probably a dozen times before the night was over, Gruffy and I just looking at each other and shaking our heads.
But it made me feel so happy, that this 92-year-old father-in-law of mine had been made happy so easily and was so grateful to be with us for our little gathering with our planned Christmas with the whole gang going asunder the day before.
And, on top of things not turning out as far as the gathering went, the fact that poor old Granddad ended up with not one, but two trips to the emergency room Christmas Eve, and was still grateful, well, I guess that’s the way he can look at things…after having 91 Christmases on his tally.
Yeah, Gruffy’s boys were coming along with the two grand girls, and Gruffy had cooked up his outstanding “stew in the ground” for everyone to feast on.
He spent hours getting everything ready - all I had to do was the peripherals - which didn’t amount to very much, and we were awaiting the arrival of the crew.
It’s getting time to go gather up granddad for the afternoon, and we get the news.
He’s being taken to Birmingham for a procedure that couldn’t be taken care of locally. I get there and he’s already loaded into the ambulance and off they go.
Meanwhile, Gruffy’s manning the phone at home to alert the kids about what’s going on and that we were probably looking at a change of plans for the day.
If not longer, we thought at that point, you never know.
The trip turned out to be productive; Granddad’s problem was solved and no major repercussions because of it.
But it was getting late; he was a little worn out, so we decided to let the day go without having the gathering.
Gruffy and I get home; it’s nearing bedtime, and we get another call.
Granddad has taken a spill and tore his hand and arm up pretty good.
This time, I take off by myself to see what’s going on, and again, there’s granddad loaded up, bound for the hospital again.
Three hours later, he’s sporting 11 stitches and lots of bandages, but all things considered, in pretty good shape for the day’s ordeals.
Gruffy and I had pretty much written off having anything happen as far as Christmas went the following day. We just knew Granddad would be too worn out from the day and night of activity the day before.
Feeling bad that everything had been blown to pieces as far as our plans went for him, I loaded up his little old dog and went to see him for what I’d thought would be a quick visit just to see how he was.
And, with hopes of cheering him up a bit with the visit from his trusty little dog who in dog years, is about as old as he is.
It’s early afternoon; Granddads napping as I expected him to be, recovering from the day and night before.
But he comes around, is thrilled to see his dog, and soon he’s up, ready for a cup of coffee and a little visit.
I’m still thinking he’s going to give out soon and be ready to get back in the bed.
Nope, that’s not what happened.
It was getting close to dinner time, and he’s ready to get up, I’m thinking to get to the cafeteria on time and to see me off.
Then, I realize he’s planning on coming with me to our house, and after I get over the initial shock, I just say “Well, OK, great, if you feel up to it…”
There was no doubt he did, and he was going.
So we get to the house, talk for a while, then we get out the ill-fated Christmas stew from the day before and have dinner.
Granddad’s raving by this time about how lucky he is, about having the best Christmas ever, and how there must be some reason he’s still around.
He’s laughing and making jokes - Gruffy and I are in disbelief - and the three of us have an outstanding get together.
I learned that Granddad didn’t need all that much to make him happy, that he was just glad to be with us and glad that his little disasters had turned out OK.
The best Christmas ever?
Well, maybe it was.