So when I was in my twenties and back living in Wisconsin, I would go to the family functions as expected. At the Christmas family functions, my grandparents would – not knowing what in the world a 24 year old could possibly want (besides sinful sex and hedonistic rock-n-roll) – give me a card with some cash in it. One set of grandparents always gave me a check. This of course means that I couldn’t spend this money until the banks opened two days after Christmas. My granny though would always put in hard cold cash in the form of a ten or twenty. I always gave her a big hug and kiss and promised that I would spend her gift on something I’d been wanting like a new CD or some shoes.
Truth of the matter is, after the family function dispersed and I was left to my own devices, I typically found myself at my local pub with nothing in my wallet except that twenty from granny. As I ordered my first pint, I turned to my friend and said, “Nothing says booze like Grandma.”
Last week my granny passed away. It was a bit of a shock that no one really expected. I was (and am) heartbroken. Granny was by far one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. When I learned that she had died, I turned to Andy and told him that it didn’t matter if we couldn’t afford it, I was going to Wisconsin to be with the family and to say good-bye to her in person. Two days later I was on a plane back home.
In the 9 days I have been back, I have spent more time with my family that I thought was humanly possible. We laughed a lot, we’ve cried a lot, we’ve made jokes at each other’s expense, we’ve fought a bit, we’ve drunk a bit, and we sure as hell have eaten our weight in fatty Wisconsin food.
After granny’s memorial service, the whole lot of us went to a Polish restaurant for a buffet dinner. Yes, there was sauerkraut on the menu. My brother and I as well as a couple of our cousins went up to the bar for a round of drinks. It occurred to me that I had absolutely zero cash in my wallet – except for a $50 bill that I had just received that morning – a Christmas gift from granny that my parents had forgotten to send. I turned to my brother and cousins and told them, “I’ve got this round! Well, granny has this round because nothing says booze like Grandma.” I can’t believe that’s the last time I’ll be able to say that.
Very sad things aside, it’s been an interesting trip back. It’s a huge coincidence that I happen to be here exactly a year after I moved to England. I ended up watching the Superbowl in the exact same bar I watched it last year (though with less excitement). I’ll be landing back in England on the exact same date I landed there last year. At least when I land this time I’ll know what the hell I’m getting into.
By the way, after moaning about kosher dill pickles for over 8 months I can proudly say that I have had some. Some? That’s probably an understatement. I’ve pretty much bathed in them for 9 days. As it turned out, my father picked me up from the airport. On the drive back home he said he needed to pick up some things at Sam’s Club and would I possibly want anything. “Kosher dill pickles,” I replied. As anyone who has been to Sam’s Club knows, there is no such thing as a reasonable portion size there. While I could have waited and just gone to a normal grocery store at some point, I saw this jar and my eyes glazed over. I was in pickle euphoria. I made my sister model this mongo jar of pickles with a normal sized jar of pickles for comparison.
To answer your question, no, I didn’t manage to eat the entire jar. I tried. I think at one point I challenged myself to do it. In the end I got through 5 gigantic pickles – each gigantic pickle being equal to that of 4 regular sized pickles. The remaining pickles in the gigantic jar now reside at my brother’s house where they will probably remain until 2018 when one of my brother’s drunken friends eats the rest as a bet. As for me, it is best that I don’t retain salt or my ankles would look like Goodyear tires by now.
Anyhow, I head back to England tomorrow. I’m ready to see my husband and my little Henbot. No, I’m so desperately anxious to see them I feel like climbing in my dad’s car right now and tapping my fingers in anticipation until I get driven to the airport. It’s been a bittersweet trip home and all my boozin’ grandma cash is spent.
Unless I die in a fiery plane crash, I’ll be back next week with my very special One Year in England Anniversary post.