My grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. This is not funny but you either laugh or cry at the memories. She was the picture perfect Grandmother. She wore dresses with pearls and always carried a sweater over one arm (even though she lived in Florida) and a purse over the other. Even after the disease kicked in, she was a very determined woman.
My favorite memory is when I was given the duty of taking her to my cousin’s wedding. I arrived about three hours early to spend extra time with her. When I arrived, she was already dressed and ready to go. She was even a little put out with me for being late. I explained we had plenty of time but she insisted we leave right away. I even called my aunt to reassure her we did not need to leave yet. She did not believe either of us.
I was able to stall for awhile but she continued to get upset. I went ahead and got ready and off we went. When we got to the church, the parking lot was empty. She got out of the car and pounded on the front door. She was convinced that everyone was hiding. After much pleading, I was able to convince her to walk across the street to the drug store and get ice cream.
As we crossed in front of the church, my sweet little grandmother spotted a pair of feet hanging out of a bush. Before I could stop her, she walked over and grabbed the feet. She shook them and began calling out to wake this person up. All of a sudden this old bum sat up still holding a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in his hand. He was most definitely drunk out of his head. Grandma began asking him if he knew when the wedding was supposed to begin. All I could think of was maybe he had a knife or something.
The old drunk mumbled something about kids in love. My grandmother told him that they were definitely in love. He said that was wonderful. “What the world needs is more love. He then began singing, “What the world needs now is love sweet love” not well at all. Amazingly, my grandmother began singing with him. So here I was, standing on the sidewalk in front of a very busy street watching this adorable little lady and this drunken man sing at the top of their lungs. People were slowing down, pointing and staring. This was definitely one of my most embarrassing moments.
I was eventually able to pry the two apart. I took Grandma across the street but not before she invited him to the wedding! Oh boy! I was imagining my aunt strangling me if he showed up. I knew that I would be blacklisted from all family events.
I was able to keep her busy in the store for awhile. We made our way back to the church about 15 minutes before the wedding. As we walked in, I could not help but look around. I had this fear of him popping up on the back pew still holding his beer. He was nowhere to be seen thank goodness! I would still be able to see my family.
At the wedding reception, my job was to keep Grandma out of trouble. This was no easy task. They have videos of my grandmother walking around and all you can see of me is my hand reaching out to grab her. She was such a character.
I was able to have someone stay with her long enough to tell my aunt the story of my grandmother and the drunk. She laughed until she cried. My job then was to tell everyone there this story. It was the hit of the party!
Everyone loved my grandmother. We were all so sad to watch her lose herself in the disease. This day though, we had a glimpse of the old grandma. Most people would have just turned their heads and walked away from the bushes but not her. She reached out and spent time with this man that I’m sure he didn’t remember but I’ll never forget.