Editor’s note: I am the luckiest person in the world. I am 27 and still have both of my grandmothers and one grandfather still with us – both physically and mentally. They are not only sharp, but resilient New Englanders who know what it is to be tough, who know how to enjoy a good party, and who aren’t afraid to throw back a few cocktails with their grandchildren.
Where i get it
The Boston Red Sox are the reason my Nana is still alive today. That, and a potential trip to the nude beach down the Cape. Let me explain.
Just four months ago we were alerted by her doctors that she might not make it to my sister’s wedding the next month – let alone to the end of the week. I even had a meeting with my boss to let her know that I might have to fly home to Boston soon.
You see, my grandmother has an extremely advanced case of emphysema and less than 10 percent of healthy lung tissue. The simple act of breathing exhausts her. And the medications she is required to take make her even more tired.
But despite being blind in one eye (stroke) and constantly strapped to a portable oxygen machine, she remains fiercely and stubbornly independent. Often times to a fault. For instance, the idea of cooking on a gas stove while wearing a tank of oxygen fastened to your torso might tip the average person off to being … incredibly dangerous … yet, she insists on still making her famous chicken cutlets and pizzelle cookies. She refuses to leave the house she was born in for an assisted living facility or one of her children’s homes. My mom says Nana is going out on her terms. And thankfully for us, it doesn’t appear to be anytime too soon. I thank the Red Sox for that.
My grandmother’s biggest regret in life is that she “never got to go to the nudie beach.” I love that. I have offered to take her to the one in Cape Cod. She is thinking about it and said she will let me know.
This is also the same woman who took my mother and her younger sister to a strip club for a bachelorette party for my aunt about 15 years ago. She was pushing 70, standing up at the front and passing out a plethora of dollar bills to the young women present, urging them to put the money in the dancer’s g-string. I love this woman.
All of my grandparents religiously watch the Red Sox games. My dad’s mother lives in Florida and she listens on the radio. She is hardcore. Both of my nanas have had serious infatuations with Red Sox players and I can only assume this is where I get it from. I can’t help it – it was passed on genetically.
I grew up listening to my grampa Mac saying, “Those bums. The Red Sox are a bunch of bums!” each time the the team got creative and discovered another new way to blow a game in the late innings. During the 2004 playoffs, the city suffered from a series of unfortunate celebrations in the streets, resulting in the death of young college student and the torching and flipping of cars by revelers gone retarded.
I will never forget what my grampa said to me when the Sox clinched the World Series that year: “If I was young enough, I would flip cars too.”
Side note: I hope the new generations of Red Sox fans don’t get spoiled. I hope they don’t think we are a nation founded by winners. I hope the younger generations don’t develop the entitlement Yankee fans are prone to exhibit.
But back to my grandmother.
After her last doctor’s appointment he told her he didn’t need to see her for another six months. To this day he is unable to explain why she is so healthy. But I attribute it to two things:
1. My nana is a tough old lady
2. She loves watching cute men in tight pants.
I am so proud I have even a fraction of some of her genes. On a serious note, I hope I inherited even a quarter of her strength and faith.
During last Tuesday’s game against the Rangers the Sox got out to an early lead, scoring 10 runs in the first inning. My mom, satisfied with the lead, flipped off the TV and went to bed. But my grandparents held out. Soon it appeared the Sox were up to their old tricks. Despite a double digit lead, they managed to almost lose – prompting my grampa to begin yelling, “Those bums! They’re a bunch of bums.”
Now this kind of talk upsets my nana. She always believes the Sox can and will win.
So when my grampa flipped off the TV yelling once more, “those bums,” she dragged her oxygen tank to the kitchen where she was able to watch the rest of the game in peace and take her meds. The Sox ended up winning on a homerun by Kevin Youkilis in the eighth.
The next morning they called my mother at 8 am. My grandparents pick up the phone close to never. So when my mom saw their number flash on the screen she got a little nervous.
“Did you see the game,” they asked her? “We almost got divorced over it.”
I love these people.