Posted by Naomi Finch at 08/10/2012 15:49:12
They say, (whoever ‘they’ are?) that as you get to your twilight years you start to take on child-like qualities again. Well, here’s a story about Gramps re-introducing himself to the naughty side of his personality.
A few years ago we decided to go to Scarborough for the day. At that time Gramps was a lot steadier on his feet, he just needed guiding. So we all headed off – me, Gramps and my daughter in her wheelchair, which Gramps gladly pushed along the sea front. ( I know, I don’t make life easy for myself do I ?)
I had to laugh when Gramps hooked his walking stick into his coat zipper, saying he didn’t need it whilst he was pushing the wheelchair. Fair enough, I thought, chuckling to myself. So I walked alongside them both, guiding them around the oncoming foot traffic, that Gramps just couldn’t see, saying “excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”.
Gramps then happily paid £2 for my daughter to have a donkey ride. Well, when I say happy, he did question why it wasn’t still 2 bob. Then he sat on a bench whilst I walked alongside the donkey. He couldn’t see us on the beach but he was happy that she’d enjoyed it.
As we approached a pelican crossing, Gramps told me, for the umpteenth time, that the bobbled paving stones are for blind people so that they know where the crossing is. And did I know that there is a cog underneath the button for the crossing that spins around when the green man flashes so that deaf and blind people can tell it is time to cross?
To be safe, I took over the wheelchair to get us across the road. Gramps unhooked his stick and, as I indicated to him that we could cross, he visibly hunched over and started walking like he had a stone in his shoe – very slowly! I’m thinking, “Oh no, don’t collapse on me now halfway across the road”. I grabbed him to pull him along whilst also trying to manoeuvre the wheelchair through the oncoming crowd. He’s a big man, at 6 foot, so it took every bit of strength I had. Then, to my astonishment, he raised his stick horizontally and started waving it at the waiting cars, shouting “you’ll just have to wait, I’m blind and deaf, old and slow and we have a wheelchair here”. As we got to the other side Gramps straightened up, hooked his stick back in his coat and took over from me again, pushing my daughter and carrying on as if nothing had happened.
I’m laughing as I recall this tale now but, at the time, I was really mad with Gramps – and I told him so. He frightened me to death. He said he always did that when he was crossing the road as he couldn’t see or hear the little man and it gave him the time he needed.
My vain attempts to then try and advise him that acting even older and more infirm than he actually is, is not a safe thing to do (and that the green man gave plenty of time to cross) fell on deaf ears... literally! Some may say he was just being fickle. But, as his carer and granddaughter, I say it was rather naughty!