Friday, October 17, 2014

How About "As the New Saying Goes?"

My grandmother (father's side) spent a number of her last years in a convalescent home. She was in southern California, we were in northern California, so though my aunt was there most days, we only saw her a couple of times a year.
Part of the adventure of these visits was seeing the other residents who weren't as together as my grandma. There was The Soldier who made his bed many times a day and would stand at attention by his bed. Another gentleman in a wheel chair would make race car sounds. There was an escape artist that made it to the streets more than a time or two (kind of like Steve McQueen with his motorcycle, but not really at all). My brother would often say on these trips, "I hope I have enough sense to shoot myself before I'm in a place like this."

But my grandma sure didn't feel that way. Though wheelchair bound, her mind was fine. And her smile was in very good shape. The staff loved her. She was cheery and always appreciative of the nurses and attendants. She wasn't demanding, but was treated well because she was loved.

And she loved to talk. She would tell about all the happenings in the home (that's how we heard about the escape attempts). She would tell old stories about family, her husband who was forced to travel the country to support the family during the Great Depression and about her six children (my dad was #4.)

At the conclusion of one of her stories, of one of her sons working in a Colorado coal mine or daughter serving in the Peace Corps, she would conclude the story with these words, "Well, as the old saying goes..." And then she'd go on and tell a different story.
We would never know if she actually had an adage in mind or if it was just a conversational tic. I'm sure sometimes it was one and sometimes it was the other.

But it sure would make you wonder. If she was telling a story about an impulsive action by one of her sons, was the "old saying" she was thinking of "Look before you leap" or "He who hesitates is lost"? If she was telling about dealing with want in difficult days was the "old saying" she was thinking of, "A penny saved is a penny earned" or "Penny wise and pound foolish"?
Or perhaps you could come up with your own saying. My favorite self-made adage is "Cleanliness is next to godliness; why settle for second best?"

"As the old saying goes..." could go in a lot of directions. Grandma has been gone a lot of years. And now I wouldn't care what old saying she was thinking of, if only I could hear her saying it.

No comments: