Friday, December 11, 2009

Get Yourself Some Grandparents for the Holidays

That's my Nona and Pops. I stole them from my friend Kd. She ran off to New Zealand to raise cows and chickens or crayfish or something and just left the grandparental units by the wayside. Imagine abandoning a perfectly good Nona and Pops like that! I figured since they were essentially free for the taking, I'd snatch them up. Wouldn't you? Look how cute they are.

We went to visit Pops for his 90th birthday and bring over some homemade treats that I had canned over the summer. After all, I owed Nona since she gave me all of her canning jars, and we're not talking a couple dozen here. I inherited her entire stash! (It's not like Kd was going to bring them to New Zealand.)

In her prime, Nona was the absolute queen of canning. She has my mother whipped, hands down. Every summer Pops would dig up the sizable backyard and plant loads of veggies. Nona tells me they would can over 100 quarts each of tomatoes and string beans. That should give you a clue as to how many jars I've got squirreled away. Total score!

I called Nona to ask if we could drop by and the tone of her gleeful response I can only liken to when I tell my 6 year old daughter that we're going to Fairyland. I instantly remembered that Nona and Pops no longer have family members living nearby and that visitors are scarce. This is all too often the unfortunate circumstances for the elderly in modern society; family moves away and friends have either passed or are not mobile enough for visiting. When I was very young, my parents would take me and my siblings to visit some of the older folks from our church who had a hard time getting out for Sunday services. It was part of my parents' commitment to community, but they also reveled in conversing with folks who had a lot of life behind them and could spin a good yarn. In our fast-paced urban lifestyles, we've let go of this practice, much to our cultural detriment.

But I didn't visit Nona and Pops out of some guilt-laden fear of myself becoming old and alone, or for the vulturous prospects of snagging some more canning loot. I sincerely enjoy Nona and Pops company. The first time I met Pops, or Papa but I like to call him Pops, Nona was fiddling with some pills and Pops turned to me and stated very matter of fact "She has to take those so she doesn't get pregnant." I laughed so hard I nearly choked on the piece of bread I was munching. My uproarious laughter at this dry comment bordered on rude, but I couldn't help myself. That was some funny stuff. I've heard tell that Pops doesn't always know what's going on these days, but I suspect that he just chimes in when he has got something important to say. And I could talk to Nona for hours about the old days in Oakland and San Lorenzo, where they have resided for the last 50 years. Nona tells me about the orchards that used to be scattered throughout the area, the canning, gardening, and sausage making that she would do with her Portuguese mother-in-law. She gives me updates on her at least 40 year old tortoise named Georgia, who is currently hibernating and who, I was told, once disappeared for over two years and then turned up again one day roaming around the backyard.

Nona and Pops are a funny, good-natured, kind pair whom it is always a pleasure to visit. They even sent me a birthday card! They're the best. We hope to get the entire Itty Bitty clan over there before the holidays.

And no, you cannot have my Nona and Pops. I stole them fair and square. If you need a Nona and Pops, go out and get your own! There are plenty out there and I'm sure they would love a visit from some young whipper snapper such as yourself. The holidays are the perfect time to adopt a grandparent.


  1. that is super cool. Right now I facilitate a group for elderly women who have vision problems and I love it. They are teaching me far more than I am helping them. I just sit back and listen to their stories and ideas for problem solving, dealing with their disabilities and families, and just plain getting older. I know one woman makes a kick-ass jam. I should ask her to teach me.

  2. I adopted a "Pappi" about five or six years ago, when I realized he has no family. A more stubborn old coot would be hard to find, but he is MY old coot and I adore him. I love to listen to all of his stories, and I love the tears in his eyes when he talks about his great granddaughter, my daughter. Congrats on your grandparents!