Thursday, January 10, 2013

R.I.P. Centenarian

Last Friday the medical experts who have been involved with Centenarian since October of 2011 predicted that she would be on the wrong side of the lawn by Monday.  I have a good deal more faith in the weatherman than I do these witchdoctors.

Centenarian passed away today around 3:00 PM.  Attending her were Main Lady, Flopsy, Mopsy, Angel the Caregiver and another hired hand.  They prayed and sang hymns while Centenarian quietly stopped breathing.  And that is that.

Centenarian has been in bad shape since before October of 2011.  I wrote something about it here: My Life: Playing Cat and Mouse.  Main Lady did an outstanding job of caring for her mother, putting her own life on hold so as to provide her mother comfort.  Main Lady's younger sister Ding Bat lives in Florida and did very little, which surprised me.  I doubt that Ding Bat will show up for the memorial service, which really surprises me.  Maybe I'll learn the story behind that, and maybe I won't.

Centenarian was 104 when she passed away.  She led a fairly incredible life.  She won a beauty contest and was Miss Wisconsin one year.  One older relative was a noted actress and worked in Hollywood, so Centenarian met a few very noteworthy people and ended up in the Ziegfeld Follies for a year or so.  While living in Arlington, Virginia she met First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt by chance and ended up having lunch with her.  It turned out they were both working for the same charitable organization.  Again in Arlington she met President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton who were on their way out of church services.  Centenarian bent the President's ear for about ten minutes or so telling him what a great job he was doing and how proud everyone was of him.  He was polite to her, for which I'm grateful.

Centenarian also had a sense of humor.  Some years back Main Lady was having everyone over for lunch in her beautifully landscaped back yard.  All present and accounted for were Main Lady, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, Que Bee One, Excellent Rachmaninoff, Centenarian and Yours Truly, Mad Jack.  I was bored and so started drinking.  Then I got an idea.  I always get my best ideas while enjoying a few fingers of my favorite thought provoker.

The ladies were drinking ice tea and soft drinks.  I think Main Lady opted for a small glass of wine, but other than that they were every bit as tea totaling as any group of Temperance Women on a Sunday afternoon, and that includes Que Bee One who I would feel a whole lot better about if he got caught up in an afternoon raid on a massage parlor.  I noted that the color of the ice tea and my whiskey bore a very close resemblance.  So, while the hens were all out in the kitchen getting lunch together, I turned to Centenarian and asked if she'd like to have a little fun.

"What have you got in mind?"

I explained my stroke of pure genius and she readily agreed, cautioning me to be very careful about what I was putting in the glass.  I waited until the ladies came back outside and sat down to lunch, then I went for a refill.  When I got back, Centenarian raised some hell with me.

"Well, you've got some nerve!  You serve yourself top shelf whiskey and won't offer me so much as a thimbleful?"
 "Oh!  Well, I'm sorry.  If you'd like a drink, I'll be happy to pour you one."
"Yes, I'd like one."
"Okay, just give me a minute."
And I got up and left.  I got a rocks glass and spilled a healthy two fingers of ice tea in it and returned to the table.  The girls hit the roof.
"No Grandma!  Don't drink that.  That's really strong stuff!"  Mopsy stared at her grandmother with big, frightened eyes.
"No, don't give her that, Jack.  She can't drink whiskey." Flopsy commanded me.  I ignored her.
"No, I said!" Flopsy was getting pissed off, mainly because I was ignoring her.
"No mother, you can't have that.  That's hundred proof.  Jack, take that away from her before she drinks it."  Main Lady clearly thought I was daring her poor mother to partake of the strong waters as befuddle men's minds, and she didn't like it.  Centenarian had other ideas.
"Here we go - that's what I wanted!"  Centenarian took the glass out of my hand, then deftly moved it away from Flopsy who was trying to snatch it away from her.
"No. This is mine.  You go and get your own."
Centenarian tossed off half the glass like a sailor on shore leave.  An old, thirsty sailor.
"No Grandma!  No!  Give me that!"  Flopsy made another pass at the glass, but was thwarted by experience and superior reflexes.
"Nope.  Go get your own."
"Mother, give me that."  Main Lady got a hand on the glass, but Centenarian retaliated by clutching the glass in both hands and pulling it away.
"Oh, no... Jack?  Take that whiskey away from mother.  She doesn't know how to handle whiskey."
"She looks fine to me."  I said, covering my expression with a healthy snort.  If I didn't do something soon, I was going to do myself a mischief from stifling the laughter.
"I have to get something.  I'll be right back."
I exited the table and went back inside to compose myself.  By the time I got back out, the table was very quiet.  I ate my lunch, enjoying the nice weather.  Then during the clearing up process Que Bee One told me that he'd spilled the beans while I was inside and out of earshot.
"Why'd you do that?"  I asked him, a bit torqued off.
"Well, they were all very concerned about grandma."

Which should give some insight into Que Bee One.  Centenarian thought the whole business great sport.  I had a good deal of fun with it, and later on I was coldly informed that I was being given the silent treatment during lunch.  Funny, I never noticed.  Oh well.

So that's that.  I'm sure the memorial service, funeral and wake will involve another set of problems and opportunity for one thing or another.  We shall see.  Meantime, here's how!


flask said...

rest in peace, remarkable lady.

may your family's journey through this time be gentle.

Capt. Schmoe said...

I think you may have made the Rabbits mad, Jack.

It sounds like The Centenarian had a remarkable run, I am sure she will be missed. Condolences to the family.

Tonight, when I pour myself a Crown, I'll make it a double and make a toast in her honor.

Unknown said...

What an extraordinary woman. I'm sorry for your loss.

Older School said...

So very sorry for your loss, MJ. May she rest in peace.

CWMartin said...

Good memories make a loss a bit easier. My thoughts with your family.

Mad Jack said...

Thank you, Flask. They can use some gentle treatment just now.

My thanks to you, Capt. Schmoe. That's a gesture Centenarian will appreciate.

Thank you, Suz.

Thanks, Older School.

Thanks, CW. That anecdote is probably what I'll recite during service.