Monday, October 27, 2014

My Day Bodyguarding for Richard Gere...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

I find it hard to believe, looking back...that Mamma Bear and I, after marrying in '87 didn't get an "out of town" vacation until 1999.

That year, my wife's cousin Paige asked us if we would "stand up" for her and her fiancé when they got married in Vegas.

VEGAS you say? As in Las Vegas?!?

Hell YES we would!!!

Her Fiancé Pat worked at the same GM plant that I did in Pontiac. We were down the first 2 weeks in July for a model changeover, and they decided that was when we'd go.

We flew in on Tuesday the 6th., and we took a taxi to the Rio Suites Hotel to get our rooms without incident.

That night as a special "thank you" for coming out with them, Pat and Paige took us to see Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage.

It was amazing to say the least, and we were so grateful to see these legendary performers live!

After the show we came back to the Rio, gambled a little, had a few drinks and went to bed. We had a big day the next day as they had the Candlelight Wedding Chapel already booked.

Set across Las Vegas Boulevard from Circus Circus Hotel and Casino and next to the Riviera it was a Vegas landmark! In doing a little internet reconnoitering for this, I discovered that sadly it no longer resides there.

Moved when the land it sat upon was sold in 2007, it made it's way across town to be preserved as part of the Clark County Museum complex. It's sign is now in the Neon Museum alongside other historic landmark signs! 

Celebrities that have married there include Bette Midler, Barry White, Michael Caine, Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger for those too young to remember), and Richard Gere! Well, almost...

Pat and I met up after breakfast, he in his black suit...looking dapper. Me? I was in a grey pinstriped double-breasted. We took a cab to the chapel while the girls made sure Paige was stunning. 

So we arrived well before they did, but what to do?
Well, when in Vegas...
So we walked next door to the Riviera to get out of the heat. July in Vegas, it was hovering around a 110° F. "But it's a dry heat....."
YEAH RIGHT! Tell that to the 2 Michigan guys in suits!

So we stepped into the casino where it was cool and dark. A light haze of cigarette smoke hung in the air. Though it was early a few die hards were already trying their luck at the one-armed bandits. There was a bar close to the door, and Pat and I walked over and got a couple cokes.

We did not have direct line of sight to the Wedding Chapel's drive so I wandered over by the door so I could see out. As I was standing there, two women approached me...looking "touristy" in "I ♡ Vegas" T-shirts and visors.

Amid much giggling, and looking towards the bar one of them asked me: 

"Are you his bodyguard?" indicating Pat.

This set off another round of giggles.

I must have looked a little confused as I asked "What?"

"Richard Gere," they said pointing to Pat "are you his bodyguard, can we talk to him?!? P-l-e-a-s-e...."

"Um, yeah you can talk to him...but that's not Richard Gere, and I'm not his bodyguard. His name's Pat and he's marrying my wife's cousin in about 15 mins."

They looked crestfallen and asked "You're not lying are you?"

Then I looked, really looked... Damn, I could see it....

Mr. Gere
If ya squint a little, look just right...

I guess he does look a little like Richard Gere...

Lucky Bastard!!!

After assuring them I was NOT in fact lying they moved off in search of other celebrities... 

I walked back over to Pat, chuckling.

"What was that all about?" He asked.

"Evidently, you look like Richard Gere, and I look like your bodyguard..." I told him.

"Gotta be the sunglasses..." Pat said, indicating my gold tone Gargoyles™ with a laugh. I'd been wearing them looking out the door.

We finished our cokes, looked at our watches and started for the door...when we heard:

"Excuse us....can we get a picture???"

We turned around to 2 different ladies, older than the first pair yet similarly attired, readying cameras.

"Sorry ladies...not Richard Gere..." I said.

"Dammit Gloria I told you so!" One said to the other, as they too wandered off.

"Come on Buddy, I better get you out of here before you cause a riot!" I told him as we hit the door.

We walked back over to the chapel and were standing outside waiting as the girl's arrived.

As the cabbie pulled into the drive, Mamma Bear said to Paige:

"There they are...ready?"

"Holy SHIT!" said the cab driver, turning around.

"You're marrying RICHARD GERE?!?"

The stunning couple!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Friday, October 24, 2014

Take a Chair...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Remembering my Wife's Grandmother's passing made me think of one of my favorite stories about my Mother's Mother.

My Grandma Helen.

My family comes from the Thumb area of the state of Michigan. By and large farming communities settled by English, German and French Canadians.

Tight knit communities where everybody knew everybody.

My Grandma lived in Lexington, a small coastal community 25 miles north of the larger port city of Port Huron. An hour and a half drive, North and East of where we lived.

Back in the halcyon days of my childhood. When "Race Relations" meant shaking the winner's hand even though you had lost, and the only sex on my mind was the sex of the friendly dog I'd found. (Cause if it was a girl, there might be puppies!)
I used to spend a week every summer with my Grandma Helen.

A robust woman of good German stock, a devout Catholic and hard worker she brooked no insolence from anyone, let alone a young boy. She still wore 50's style house dresses and aprons, well into the 70's. Her dark hair perfectly coiffed in a short neat style, she was a force to be reckoned with! 

Before we went anywhere I was always admonished to behave myself, as how I acted not only reflected upon my parents but on her as well. She loved me fiercely, but misbehaving brought fierce and swift reprisals.
She would not have me sully her good name.
"You'll be gone and I'll still have to live with these people." she'd say.

She was semi retired at the time, but still cleaned houses for a select group of folks older than her, and would take me along.
She also supplemented her income by taking in lodgers to her modest home, just North of town.

One such lodger was a fellow named Paul. Paul was a tall, lanky string bean of a man, who wore his thinning hair with plenty of Brylcreem plastered to his head. He had a large bulbous nose crisscrossed with the broken blood vessels that marked a penchant for alcohol. He had deep set, rheumy eyes that always looked like he'd just finished a good cry, but a ready smile for all.

I remember Paul well as he lodged with my Grandma for several years. Never married he was always present at holiday dinners as he had nowhere else to go, and Grandma wouldn't hear of him being excluded. Much to my Mother's chagrin.

On a couple of occasions during my summers there, Paul would walk me down to the ice cream shop closer to town for a cone.
He in his navy work shirt and pants (which is all I ever remember seeing him in) and me in shorts and a tee shirt! I always wondered why he just didn't burn up it was so hot.

Paul's one failing, according to my Grandmother was his love of "the hooch". While he paid his bills on time and went to work everyday, he drank up every last dollar he made, and that's why he had never been married. It sometimes "made him belligerent" she confided.

The incident happened on a hot July day...
Grandma kept a sizable garden in her back yard, cucumbers and tomatoes, cabbages and carrots, radishes, strawberries and lettuce.

That day we worked in the garden. While Grandma weeded, it was my job to check the plants for and remove, any insects I found.
We had started early but the was a lot of garden to check and it was well after lunchtime when we finished.

We had sandwiches and split a Fresca, and after cleaning up Grandma had me take a nap on the couch in front of a fan.

Afterwards as the sun moved to the West and the back yard became cloaked in the house's shadow, we went back outside. Grandma set up a couple of old style aluminum lawn chairs, one for her and one for Paul when he got home from work. A little folding table held sweating glasses of fresh lemonade. As she read, I occupied myself with my Tonka trucks and plastic army men...

While I'd napped Grandma had started a roasted chicken, boiled potatoes and left them in the pot to be warmed up when Paul got home.

The time Paul should have been home came and went, and as time ticked by Grandma became more and more agitated. When Paul finally showed up, he staggered down the back porch stairs and weaved his way over to my Grandma.

"Just where have you been?" Grandma snapped.

"I had some stops to make..." Paul slurred, then belched.

"You've been warming a stool down at the beer garden again haven't you? You reek of booze!" I was young, but I recognized that tone!

"Aw Helen...Don't be that way..." Paul whined.

"Don't you 'Aw Helen' me! You take a chair before you fall on your drunken face, you can't even stand still!!! I'll get dinner ready. Maybe some food will sober you up." Grandma said pointing to the vacant lawn chair.

Paul puffed himself up, taking obvious umbrage at being called drunk.

"I am not DRUNK!" Raising his voice and his chin in defiance. "And I ain't taking no Goddamn chair!!!" Paul declared...and promptly pissed himself.

Never before and never since did I see a reaction like what happened next!

In the instant it took Paul to realize he'd just pissed his pants, Grandma was up and out of her chair like a shot! She snatched up the lawn chair intended for Paul and swung it like a baseball bat!

The chair caught Paul across the shoulders, rocking him on his feet and folded up giving Grandma a better grip.

"How DARE you!" She yelled at him "Piss yourself in front of my grandson like a common bum!!! Won't take a chair huh?!? I'll give YOU a chair you son of a bitch!!!"

The beating continued. Paul did his best to protect his head and face, and make his way inside the house but in his state of inebriation he was no match for my enraged Grandmother!

"God dammit Helen...quit!" Paul squealed as he stumbled up the stairs, blows raining down on his head and shoulders. This only intensified the attack! Finally the chair came apart and she threw the pieces at his retreating back. They bounced off and clattered against the screen door and house.

She was in the house right behind him...and I was right behind her, I wasn't gonna miss THIS show!

She snagged him by the scruff of the neck and guided him through the laundry room and kitchen and right into the bathroom. He was half a foot taller than her, but I could have swore she had him up on his tip toes! There she shoved him into the tub, clothes and all and turned on the shower...cold water only! 

"I'll not have you leaking piss all through my house! You get out of those clothes and wash yourself, I'll bring you clean clothes..." She fumed at him. "Just leave those in the tub!"

"Yes Helen..." I heard meekly over the running water.

She fetched him clean clothes and set them on the toilet, closed the door and started dinner. Heating up the potatoes then mashing them with a little butter and cream, reheating the chicken and heating up the peas. Muttering to herself the whole while...

The table was already set. It was a much subdued, wet and sober Paul that emerged, about the time the food was hitting the table. A good sized lump on one side of his head.

This time when Grandma told him to "Take a chair..." with a look, he hurriedly complied!

I don't think I ever saw Paul drunk again... 

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Never Say Never...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

As I may have mentioned, I try to NOT be a most of you. I bite my tongue, let things slide, swallow my opinions... all in the name of getting along.

But every now and then you meet one of "those" people. You know the ones, the ones that get under your skin...till you just CAN'T let it slide.

From 1997-2001 I worked at General Motors Plant 6 in Pontiac, MI. building pickup trucks. I worked third shift, 10 pm-6 am and the shift attracted some "different" folks.  Like our buddy James.

For a while I worked on the final line, across from a guy we'll call Keith. Keith was a heavy set, red haired Hispanic guy of about 25 yrs. of age. For the most part an affable guy....for the most part

Keith's Achilles heel, personality wise was his overwhelmingly high opinion of himself. From his perspective, his Associates degree from the local community college made him a God of all human knowledge. This caused him to go on long tirades about whatever the topic of the day was.

Google was in it's infancy, with Yahoo being the search engine of choice for most everyone. Nobody had smart phones...
 Keith, having taken computer classes at the community college...would often turn his tirades against the "Stupid old Men" in Congress that wanted to regulate the Internet.
"They're trying to regulate something they know nothing about!!!
It's just stupid!!! If you're going to have an opinion on something that important, you should really educate yourself about it...otherwise you just sound ignorant!"

Good lord I don't know how many times I heard THAT while working across form him.

While I tried to let these tirades just roll off my back, there were times I just couldn't keep my mouth shut...

So I often poked holes in his faulty logic, pointed out hypocrisies, and corrected him when he said something so flat out WRONG I just couldn't let it go.

Should you disagree with him, his first line of defense was the taunt: "And how many years of college did you go to?"

To which I would answer "It's knowledge Keith, not College that's important here...don't believe me? Look it up on the Internet!"

I always got the feeling that Keith spent his early life as a spoiled, indulged child. He'd never be able to play poker as his every thought was revealed by his face. He had very little ability to reign in his emotions. Light skinned with freckles across the bridge of his nose, his face would go crimson at the slightest bit of anger.

I remember one particular rant that he went on was about the nepotism employed by the Union in getting their kids into the plant. 
I just looked at him...though I knew the story, I asked innocently.

"'d you get hired in here?"

"My Dad's a Skilled Trades Electrician, he got me in...."

"Uh huh..." I said


"Mr. Pot, meet Mr. flash, you're both black!!!"
His face reddened, veins stuck out on his forehead...I thought he was having a stroke.

"It's not the same thing..." he stated.

"Yes it is," I interrupted "it's exactly the same thing. Everybody in here that's been hired in the last five years, is here because they KNOW somebody or a parent works for GM...EVERYBODY!!!"

He snorted his derision of my opinion and stopped talking to me the rest of the day, a common punishment for disagreeing with him....ah, silence.

Things REALLY came to a head one day when he started a gun control rant/argument...a subject with which I am quite well versed.

I'll not bore you with the whole long argument, but when he said to me:
"Nobody needs a semi-automatic to gun to shoot deer, where you shoot 3 bullets every time you pull the trigger!" 

"That's not what that means Keith. What you're describing is the 3-shot burst setting on a full auto machine gun/assault rifle, and nobody hunts with those! What semi-auto means is that when you pull the trigger the gun shoots 1 shot, then the gun reloads itself and is ready to fire again the next time you pull the trigger. But you must pull the trigger every time, 1 pull = 1 shot." I replied calmly.

"You're full of shit," he said face coloring "that's not what I was told..."

I had had enough.

"Look Keith, I don't know who's filling your head with the stupid bullshit you've been spewing for the last 2 hours, but to anyone that knows what they're talking sound like an idiot!
You want to regulate something you know nothing about!!!
Just like those old men that want to regulate your Internet...
And that's just stupid!!! If you're going to have an opinion on something this important, you should really educate yourself about it...otherwise you just sound ignorant!!!" 

Ok, maybe that was a little over the top, throwing his own words back at him...but it felt so right!

His face went from pink to bright red, then he crossed the line.
"Fuck you, you MOTHER Fucker!!! I'm sick of your fucking bullshit..."

"What bullshit is that?" I interrupted calmly "You mean the bullshit where I tell you that you're wrong and uninformed? Seems I have to tell you that a LOT!"

"Fine Mother Fucker! I'll never talk to you EVER AGAIN!!!" he vowed.

"Oh please," I answered "we both know you have neither the willpower nor the maturity to make good on that threat!"

He went from crimson to purple, and I thought his head might just explode as he declared:

"I will NEVER, say another WORD to you, as LONG as I LIVE!"
spittle flying as he enunciated every word!

"Never say never..." I replied.

Next day I figured he'd be over his funk as I greeted him with my typical "Hey Keith!"

I got nothing but the "look of daggers" in return.

"Really?" I said, shrugged and went to work.

After about a week of this...I couldn't help but start pushing his buttons. 

One of Keith's MANY rants was about his hatred of country music. I happen to be a fan. But out of respect for my coworker's feelings, I never played any on my stereo. In my car I had a 90 min. cassette of Marty Robin's "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs", it don't GET more country than that!

So I came in, offered my daily "Hey Keith!" to more daggers...


So I popped my cassette into my stereo and hit "play"!
Keith's face went immediately crimson.

"Hey man, I haven't listened to this in a while...and I kind of miss it. Do you mind?"


"All you have to do is ask me to shut it off and I will..."


"Cool..." I said, and went about my business.

Was it childish? Absolutely!!!
But I was determined to break him and his every day we played out the above scenario! This lasted a month...until Keith put in for a different shift rather than speak a word to me.

This bothered me not in the least, as I got rid of a class "A" jerk in favor of a nice girl from first shift.

A couple months went by and I didn't give Keith another thought.

Then one day as I was walking out of the plant, I looked up and saw Keith walking in...talking to a buddy.

"Hey Keith, How ya Doing?" I asked.

Without missing a beat Keith replied:

"Ok Joe, How are you?"

I leaned in, looked him in the eye smiling and said:

"Told ya!"

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ricky's great idea...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

This time of year, when the Autumn breezes blow and amber leaves turn cartwheels across my yard, my mind always turns to hunts I've had, and friends I've shared them with!

One of my most boon hunting companions was my friend Ricky Johnson, who long time readers met here, along with his future wife Arlene. She often accompanied us on our misguided adventures as well.

Together we've hunted this State, one end to the other...Upper AND Lower peninsulas. For squirrel, rabbit, pheasant and partridge, deer (both with gun and bow), and bear. One of our FAVORITE destinations was Drummond Island.

Our core group, that went every year to hunt the elusive whitetail deer with our bows. Consisted of Ricky and Arlene, one of the mechanics from work Mark, his lovely wife Gail, and me. Oh sure every year there were satellite friends that tagged along. Sometimes swelling our group to twelve or so, but at the center were the five of us.

Now Ricky is one of those guys that's always looking for "the edge". That one exclusive thing that will get him a bigger, better, more monstrous buck.

One year Ricky had an epiphany!

While buying feed corn to take as bait, he saw a thing called a "Deer Sucker"! Eight inches round, two inches thick and stuck on a stick you could push into the ground. Comprised of oats and grains, a little corn and salt all bound together with molasses and baked hard. The idea being the deer stopped to lick and nibble the sucker, distracting him long enough for a shot.

This got Ricky thinking. He had heard of something called "Sweet Feed" which was oats and barley tossed with molasses and given to horses as a treat....

What if...instead of feed corn, he baited with sweet feed instead?
Surely the deer would go crazy for the stuff! After all,
other perennial favorite baits were apples and sugar beets, sweet would WORK!!!

So instead of feed corn, Ricky bought ten 50 lb. bags of sweet feed figuring he could always buy corn on the island, albeit at a higher price.

We arrived two days before the season was to start, spots were picked out, blinds/treestands set up, and bait piles laid. 

I had never been a fan of bait piles myself, and eschewed Ricky's offer of sweet feed. I thought it was a bad idea...not for the reason it turned out to be, but more because I thought with the dampness of the fall air on our island refuge, the molasses covered grain would congeal together into one large rather solid, lump!

Opening morning came.
I was sharing a cabin with Mark and Gail. As we got our things together to head out I saw Mark slip something into the pocket of his coat.
"What's that?" I asked as I continued to don my own gear.
"Firecrackers and a lighter!" Mark said "In case any bear tries to climb my stand with me, I'll light the firecrackers and toss them at him to scare him away!"

Did I mention that Drummond Island also sports a healthy population of black bears? Though none of us had ever seen one.

That didn't stop Mark from having an absolute phobia of being trapped in a tree by a black bear. I gave Mark a chuckle and shook my head, shared a knowing look with Gail and finished gearing up.

We made our way into the woods in the predawn chill. Frost on the leaves crunching beneath our feet and breath steaming like mini locomotives. Mark and I went left, with Gail following Ricky and Arlene to the right. Mark and I had the more remote hunting spots, with Mark's a half mile farther from the cabins than my own.

Our daily routine was always the same. Stay in your stand until 11am (Unless you'd shot something), then come in for lunch. Maybe a nap, then back to your stand by 3 where you'd stay until it was too dark to see.

Our morning hunt was as uneventful as it was unsuccessful. The girls had seen a couple does with yearlings. Ricky saw nothing though he noted with pride "They tore the hell out of the sweet feed Mongo...told ya!" (Ricky had taken to calling me that after watching a rerun of Blazing Saddles.)
I saw a spike, but he was way to far away for a shot, and Mark saw bupkis!

Lunch was chili in bread bowls, cheese and salami with crackers.

Back out for the evening hunt...with hope in our hearts.

When the sun finally crawled beneath the horizon, and the light washed everything to shades of was time to come in.

I walked out to the nearest road to wait for Mark. After waiting well longer than I should have I decided Mark had probably been successful and headed back in to get help. I turned towards tha cabins and started walking back. As I approached the campground, the lone streetlight for 5 miles showed 3 figures waiting under it.

Ricky, Arlene and Gail were waiting for me, out of their hunting gear.
"Who got lucky?" I asked as I walked up.
"We thought you or Mark did...isn't he with you?" Ricky answered.
"I waited for him...I thought he must have come in already."
"Shit," Rick said rubbing his whiskered face in thought.
"Go dump your shit and we'll drive down to the fire road, we'll walk in and see if we can't find him."
Gail, looking worried said "I'm coming too!"

I offed my gear in short order and we were in the Comanche, driving slow so we didn't miss the fire road. Which was not much more than a 2 track after a couple years of regrowth.

We pulled in and killed the engine. Under the canopy of remaining leaves it was blacker than a tax man's heart. We let our eyes adjust a minute, left the girls in the Jeep and started walking. We wouldn't use our flashlights until we absolutely had to, saving the batteries in case we needed them to track a deer Mark had shot. Mark's stand was about a hundred yards in, around a bend in the road and set back maybe 40 yds.

Ricky and I started pushing our way through the brush when a tenuous voice called out:
" that you?"
"Yeah Mark, it's ok?"
"Oh thank God!!! Thank God you guys came...oh God, oh God" His voice came from some 20 ft. in the air, telling us he was still in his tree stand. From the tone of his voice it sounded like he was barely holding it together.
"Mark, listen to me...we're here. You're going to be OK, are you caught up on something? What's wrong???"
"Bear....there was a bear, I don't know where he went..."
"It's alright Buddy, the sound of our voices will have scared him away...come on down."
"No it won't...I yelled at him, he wouldn't leave..."
"OK, we'll walk in to you...shine our lights as we come, he'll clear off if he's still there." And that's what we did.

Eyes the size of saucers, Mark wouldn't start down until we were at the base of his tree. Between the chill in the air and nerves he had a bit of the shakes, so I took his bow and backpack. When he got to the base of the tree he looked around on the ground for a second before snatching up his lighter and firecrackers. When he saw me looking, he sheepishly admitted "I was shaking so bad I dropped them!"

We got him back to the cabin, a hot meal and warm fireplace made a world of difference...and after a while he offered his tale.

He had just got up in his tree and got settled when he heard footfalls. Thinking I might have forgotten something and was coming to talk to him, he called out. The footsteps stopped for a minute then resumed. The direction he walked in from was the densest part of woods near him and visibility was only about 10 yds. The steps were coming right to his tree.

When he could finally was a mature black bear!
It walked to his tree, sniffed the steps curiously. Then another scent reached him...the scent of molasses!

You see bears are omnivores, they'll eat damn near ANYTHING!
In spring when emerging from hibernation they'll eat tender grass shoots. In the summer, berries and fish and whatever meat they can catch or scavenge, throw in a little wild honey you have a bears diet.

So the bear ambled over to Marks pile of sweet feed, flopped down on his belly and started using both paws to shovel it in!!! When he'd eaten as far as he could reach, he re-positioned and started over!

Not wanting anything to do with this, Mark yelled and waved his arms, whooped at him all to no avail. The bear merely lifted his head, looked at Mark and continued eating. At this point Mark decided to use the firecrackers...but dropped them. 

The bear then curled up and took a nap (full belly and all), leaving Mark stuck up the tree. As the sun started to set the bear woke up, ate some more. Then unceremoniously turned around and took a massive dump right next to the bait pile. To let any and all know who this "candy coated oat goodness" belonged too. Satisfied, he slowly sauntered off, a black bear into the black woods...

With the sun down, and no way of knowing exactly where the bear was, there was NO WAY Mark was coming down until daylight, OR someone showed up to find out what happened to him. The rest we knew...

Mark's adventure proved, come morning each and every bait pile that had sweet feed in it had been visited by a bear, ruining them as deer blinds.

So Ricky's great idea...? Disastrous! We spend the whole rest of the day moving 4 blinds/treestands. On the plus side, Ricky was able to sell his remaining bags of sweet feed to our host (who guided bear hunters) for a profit!!! Lol 

We still did OK, 6 of our 8 hunters scored a deer....freezers filled and lessons learned!

And Mark? He started carrying 2 lighters and 2 packs of firecrackers...just in case!

Be Well Folks, 

Beastly Bear

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our last Grandparent...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

I know it's been a while, and I apologize! To those of you that faithfully checked for fresh blogs, only to be disappointed, I want to thank you for your diligence and loyalty. 

Time just got away from me, hard to believe it's been well over a month since I've published.

Mama Bear's Grandmother passed away at the end of Sept., just a month away from her 97th. Birthday. Matriarch of my wife's side she's survived by 3 of her 5 children, 10 Grandchildren, 19 Great Grandchildren, and 10 Great, Great Grandchildren.

In the vernacular of her day she was a "Tough old Broad"!
A woman that spoke her mind in a time when such a thing was simply not done. 

I met her 28 years ago, while dating Mama bear. I was invited to Christmas dinner with her Mother's side of the family, at Grandma's house.

When introduced she gave me the slow once over, betraying nothing. I could tell immediately, this was a woman that brooked no nonsense. I was at my most charming, still I didn't feel I was making any points....until dessert.

I had found a recipe for Peaches and cream cheese pie in a magazine while waiting to pick up a load of candy from the Lifesavers plant in Grand Rapids. I had to make a couple changes to use ingredients local grocery stores carried, but whipped one up to try. I've always cooked. From a young age I've been more than able to feed myself...

Well, Grandma had a slice...then another. Finally pronouncing that I would be "expected to bring one every year, or not bother coming."

I knew I was in!

Years went by, Mama Bear and I lived close to Grandma...and while she lived alone my wife would call her almost daily from work to check on her.

One night when Grandma was well into her 70's she called us about 9:30-10:00 at night and asked if we could come over. She said she had fallen and cut herself and thought she might need to go to the hospital, but didn't elaborate.

Needless to say we made it there in record time.

She had told us the door was open and to just come in when we got there.

We walked in and stopped dead.

It looked like a murder scene!
Grandma's living room was cream colored carpeting, white leather furniture, cream drapes and white sheers...and blood, LOTS of blood!!!

There was a quasi modern white leather glider and footstool to the left as you came into the room, a rather large pool of blood before it. Bloody hand prints on the footstool and couch where she had levered herself up. The white princess style corded phone had a perfect bloody hand-print from where she had called us. A blood trail led across the carpet from the phone towards the kitchen, smears on the linoleum where she had stepped in, and slid on it.

We called out to her, and she said "In the kitchen..."
As we made our way, avoiding the blood and rounded the corner there she stood, bent over the sink bloody towel held to the rear of her head. The kitchen looked little better as she had smeared blood on the counter-tops, on the drawer handles, and bloody hand-prints on the refrigerator.  

She explained that she had gotten up too quickly from her glider/rocker, gotten dizzy and went over backwards striking her head on the metal frame of the glider. She had laid there a minute disoriented, then touched the back of her head which had been bloody. Once she got turned over and saw how profusely she was bleeding she called us, got herself up and into the kitchen where she grabbed a towel and filled it with ice and applied it to her scalp while leaning over the sink to try and slow the bleeding.

We got another towel and got her to sit down so I could take a look at the wound. She had a good 11/2" gash that gaped open and was still leaking at a pretty good rate. I took the new towel, putting pressure on the wound I was almost able to get it to stop bleeding after a few minutes.
"Yep need stitches." I told her.
"Well CRAP!" she replied.
"Come on, we'll take you..."
She got up and started for her bedroom...
"Grandma where are you going?" I asked
"I'm going to change my clothes!" She was wearing a shirt and sweater.
"Grandma, pulling the sweater off over your head might get it bleeding harder again, I think we should just go in what you're wearing..."
She looked about to argue with me so I added.
"Besides, once they see all that blood, you'll go right to the front of the line."
She "Harrumphed" at me but didn't complain.

Once we walked into the Emergency room, just as I predicted orderlies scampered to get her a wheelchair, they rushed her through the triage, and put her in a room to await a Doctor.
When the Doctor came in, he took one look at Grandma and said 
"Oh My, what happened here?"
"This ONE," Grandma replied jerking a thumb in my direction.
"wouldn't let me change!!!"
"No, no...I meant how did you hurt yourself? You DID hurt yourself didn't you?" Giving her a significant look.
"Oh, " she said waving his concern away "Stood up, got dizzy, fell down...called my Granddaughter and her husband...who wouldn't let me change, and they brought me here."
"Well, it got you to the front of the line..." He told her.
She just glared at me, daring an "I told you so..."

Wisely, I declined....
R.I.P. Grandma
You are loved and missed.

Be Well Folks,

Beastly Bear