This afternoon I had a lunch date with my 82-year-old grandfather. He called last night to ask if I had any plans for today and I told him I hadn't any. He asked if I'd like to go out to eat, just the two of us, and said I could pick any place I wanted to go. I said I'd love to.
He picked me up at 11:33. I got in the truck and he said, "I'm three minutes late!" I told him I just didn't know what to do with him.
We decided to go to Nashville. I love the Spaghetti Factory there. I could diet on pasta and bread...I would never need any more carbohydrates, though.
When we got to downtown Nashville, we both realized the same thing- the CMA Fest was going on. This meant that trying to find a parking spot would be about as simple as stealing a great historic document from D.C. - unless you're Nicolas Cage. In both circumstances, probably.
So, we're circling the blocks in the area, detours are set up everywhere, and frequently masses of people are crossing through traffic. But here's one thing I adore about my grandfather. For every police officer we came to that told us we couldn't go the way we needed to go, every road block that stopped us from moving forward, every wrong road we turned down, my grandfather would just laugh and say, "Well, I guess we'll go this way!" with a big grin on his face and his shoulders relaxed. I would laugh too, and we'd just keep going on.
Eventually I said it would be fine if he wanted to go somewhere else, where we could find parking. He said he didn't care, that we could do whatever I wanted. So I suggested we go elsewhere, and he thought that was good.
He asked if I'd ever been to the Gerst Haus, a German style restaurant on the East side of Nashville. I hadn't, but told him it sounded fantastic! He and my grandmother have both been to Germany on several occasions and they love the cuisine. He talked on and on about their oysters -- the oyster rolls, the fried oysters, oysters on crackers -- and then couldn't believe me when I said I'd never eaten oysters. Needless to say, we ordered some oysters as an appetizer.
I'm now a fan.
The restaurant was a darling little place, with stone walls and a great big, heavy wooden door like those you imagine when reading Robin Hood. We stayed there for quite some time. He asked me about my future plans for college, life after that, told me stories about him and his friends in Germany and the way life goes on there. We had a wonderful time together.
As we got in the truck, we were both getting settled in and he said, "Susan. You know your grandfather loves you with a passion?" I smiled warmly. He paused, then continued. "I want you to know that you can always come to me with any questions, if you ever need anything or just want to talk. You can call me, e-mail me, shoot, you can even text me!" We both laughed. "Now, I won't do you any good talking about subjects, I might hurt you there," and I knew he meant mathematics, English composition, etc., and I grinned. "But if you ever want to talk about life, I can help you with that."
I have the greatest grandfather. He has the sweetest heart and the strongest passions. He also wears cardigans and flat caps, which says it all.
We drove home on Vietnam Vets. We were about halfway home when he turned to me and said,
"Well, what do you think? Did we solve all the world problems today?"
I laughed, "Definitely! I think we covered it for sure."
"I think you're right. We'll have to do this again some time and solve all the world problems that'll happen between now and then."
"You are so right. What will anyone do when we're gone??"
He laughed. "They'll just have to make do without us."