“So how is everyone? I’ve only been gone three days but it feels like a week of scrambling, and running to various shops and then the funeral and meeting with the attorney. I had to come home to get any rest.”
“We’re all fine Mary, but we’re anxious to hear how it all went with your grandfather’s funeral.”
“It was busy because he was always such a pill about anyone fussing over him. Before he died, he would tell me to stop, that he would take care of whatever, but more often than not would forget or just run out of energy and put something off until the next decade. It was crazy-making. I had to lie to him a few times about what I was doing so he wouldn’t take some task away from me that had to get done before he got any sicker.
“The end result was that there were so many things I had to do just to make the funeral go smooth and it was a big event. There were easily 400 people there.”
“Ugh – my mom was like that.”
“Mine still is, unless it’s cleaning up after the cat. She hates the creature and would love to teach it to sleep in the oven so she could arrange an accident. I loved your grandpa Mary. I didn’t know he hated being fussed over so much.”
“Yep, but that’s him. Everyone loved him. His students loved his classes. His grandchildren loved his stories. We all loved any time we spent there, especially if he was cooking. He was an amazing cook, but if you tried to help him with anything –he could not stand it.
“When I was there two months ago, he was beginning to struggle and had to walk everyday to rebuild his stamina after his surgery. Still, he wouldn’t let me touch his laundry and I knew he was wearing things longer to avoid doing it himself. I couldn’t vacuum if he was in the house and even had to do some of the dishes after he went to bed. I had to leave some unwashed so he was never sure if I’d done them.
“So I mostly walked with him which was always wonderful for a very strange reason. He lived close to a shopping area and every morning he insisted on stopping by his optometrist’s office to get his glasses cleaned. Every day!
“At home he was always tinkering at his work bench and between the temperature and humidity he was always sweaty so his glasses were always filthy. He would visit with the gals behind the counter while one of them, Cindy, cleaned them for him. She was always very kind and asked how he was doing, so it was always a pleasant visit.
“Grandpa was a very kind soul, always interested in what they were doing with their lives and such and told me that he really appreciated the job Cindy did on his glasses with her cleaning machine. At first, I found this weird because Grandpa was always such a crank if he thought someone was fussing over him. He was so independent and refused help all the time but Cindy and her machine had some sort of free pass. He frequently mentioned that he should ask her about the machine because he would like to own one, but then he’d joke that owning one would eliminate the need to stop and visit his friends. Cindy had the machine so she wasn’t fussing, so maybe, he didn’t really want one – blaa – blaa – blaa. He was really cute with this whole topic. Of course I met Cindy while with him and she really was very sweet, Twice, while I was there, she told him when bringing his glasses back that she also found something to fix for him, like the nose pads or a screw that was working loose.
“When Grandpa introduced us, Cindy went on about how much she looked forward to his visits. Then she leaned in towards me and sorta whispered, “he is the sweetest guy and always brightens our day,” then she turned back to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Grandpa blushed and Cindy turned back and winked playfully at me. I knew at that moment that there would not be a cleaning machine anytime in his future. This visit was a high light of his mornings. Cindy, was an angel with a machine and Grandpa loved coming to see her. The machine was simply an excuse to come in and practice being charming while being charmed.”
“Ha Mary, I can see it all so clearly. Your grand father was an expert flirt. He had a child-like innocence that we all loved but did not believe — uh-umm; we saw right through that act while flirting right back. He was just so adorable.”
“Jolene; I did not realize what a terrible influence you were on him. Good think I never caught you two at it. I would have put you both on time out.
“So, each morning, he and I strolled in. Cindy would take his glasses, leaving him half blind to chat with the other gals behind the counter while she and her machine worked their magic. When she came back, we’d all visit before continuing our walk. He loved his visits to their office.
“After he passed, I went back to help prepare for the funeral and made it a point to visit the optometrist office. I wanted to tell Cindy and the other gals how much they meant to Grandpa and how he looked forward to seeing them each day.
“I barely made it through the door when Cindy saw me and called to the others that I had come back and they all rushed out to hug and console me over Grandpa’s death. I could barely get a word in as they gushed about how sweet and loving he had been to them. One of them even told me that he was her favorite professors in college.
“When I was finally allowed to talk, I thanked them for being such great friends to him and hoped they could make time to attend his funeral.
“Absolutely,” they answered.
Cindy, was in tears by this time and added, “Mary, we read about his passing in the newspaper and noted the time of the funeral. We told doctor Butcher that we would all be gone for those three hours and he knew better than to object. His wife is coming in just long enough to cover for us.
“I told them, “Thanks. I so appreciate the joy that you and Cindy’s machine gave him. He spoke of you all often and how much he enjoyed your visits.”
Cindy’s expression unexpectedly changed to polite confusion. “Machine?” she said. “What machine?”
“That’s what Grandpa called your glasses cleaner. He didn’t know the name for it and said he wanted to ask you about it so he could get one, but that would kill his excuse for his daily visits, so he never did.
“Cindy still looked confused and said, “I don’t know where he got that idea. I always cleaned them by hand. I just rinsed them with warm water, maybe a drop of dish soap when they were really filthy and wiped them dry with a microfiber cloth. It took me all of two minutes. I wanted to do a great job to keep him coming back each day.
“I realized there had been some kind of confusion and now I’m in tears and and told them, ‘Grandpa thought that you were just using some machine and, Cindy, he would have stopped coming if he knew you were doing it by hand. He hated, and I do mean ‘HATED’, being ‘fussed’ over. He was too independent for his own good’.”
“That is too funny Mary. He really was like that”.
“And it was so good for him to be stopping by each day. He likely lived an extra year because of that non-existent machine.
“Anyway, I thought the whole mix up was so charming, I had to tell you all about it, but I have to run. I still have a ton of stuff to arrange with his insurance, his estate and the cemetery.”
“Mary, I have the rest of the week off. Can I help out somehow?”
“Thanks Jolene, but I’ve got this. I just need a couple of days to sort through . . .”
“Mary Ellen! Stop right there! Are you even listening to yourself? How about if I just clean your glasses for you. You really are his kin. So you know girl friend, I’ve got this neat little machine that makes it no fuss at all . . .”