Grandma waited until all our mouths were stuffed with picnic food.
“I have an announcement,” she said, standing.
At age 92, standing can take a minute or so. So grams gave our hearts time to skip several beats. It was Sunday. We’d all gathered for a family par-tay at my parent’s home in Adams County.
Grandma remembers Adams County before it had electricity. When she was born, human flight was 16 years old. World War I still didn’t have a sequel. And while she’s got the mind and body of someone half her age (which would still qualify her for AARP membership), “I have an announcement” is not something you want grandma to say.
We looked at one another, our faces draining to the color of the potato salad.
“What I have to say, some of you won’t like,” she said.
It wasn’t getting any better.
She paused again, either for dramatic effect or she’d dozed off.
“I,” she said, “have a boyfriend!”
We blinked for a few seconds and then all of us cracked up and nearly choked on our hamburgers. My older brother said, “I thought she was going to say she only had five days left or something!” I think my dad — a master of polite conversation — asked her something about “coupling” I chose to scream loudly to avoid hearing.
Turns out she went on a drive with a guy to “check out the mountain laurel.” I’m REALLY hoping that’s not old-person slang for something. Either way, they struck up a relationship.
Grammy had been married twice before. The first guy, my grandfather, died of a heart attack a few years before I was born. She waited what to her probably seemed like a couple days but to us was 10 years and then married a pig farmer named Glenn. I called him “pappy.” He died when I was in high school.
Since then, she’s lived in half of what used to be a one-room school house in Brysonia, and has spent 30 seconds of the past couple of decades relaxing. She picks blueberries, sells them, landscapes, goes on bus trips, runs with that rowdy under century crowd. She killed a copperhead with a shovel the other day.
Now it turns out she’s dating a younger man. He’s 90.
That puts him right in this blog’s key demographic, so I assume he’s reading this. Look here, buddy — watch yourself. You have to understand you’re dating a pro. My grandma INVENTED dating shortly after my grandfather invented picking up. He arrived one night in a recently invented automobile and offered her a bouquet, bouquets having been invented the previous spring. I think Jesus presided over the wedding, and then what happened on the wedding night …
We won’t go there.
Anyway, the point is if you think you’re done dating after your 20s you’re might be mistaken. I thought I was done dating at the age of 22, but life and Pennsylvana’s no-fault divorce laws have a way of changing that. You’re never too old to want to be with someone.
And the high point of finding someone in your 90s is the opportunity to mess with your family.
Read Ashley May’s Grandparentless: Losing your last grandparent