1. narrow and rigid in opinion; inflexible.
  2. oriented toward or confined to the past; extremely conservative.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to spend a lot of time with my grandparents over the last year between trips. I know not every gal in her twenties gets this luxury. After suffering a stroke last year and being diagnosed with dementia, my grandpa’s short term memory is nearly nonexistent. But every once in a while, a bit of my old grandpa pokes through and I smile through the tears. These moments do not last long, so I have to write them down as soon as possible.

I hadn’t heard him say a blessing before a meal since his stroke. Today we sat down with meatloaf sandwiches in front of us and I asked, “Should we say a blessing?” He took my hand and instead of waiting for me to begin, he said, “Lord, thank you for this fine girl. We pray for guidance and for our nation. Amen.” He squeezed my hand. This sounded like the prayer he used to always pray, and it seemed like things were just as they used to be.

Sometimes my grandpa comes across in a hidebound manner. It’s not a rude inflexibility, but more of a strong opinionated attitude. It’s been this way for all of my life. He has strong ideas and beliefs and it’s one of my favorite things about him.

So when my grandpa’s hidebound ideas varied by the minute today, by the literal minute, maybe only 45 seconds, it caught me by surprise.

While relaxing in rocking chairs on the back porch:

Grandpa: How old are you now? You can’t be more than 18 now, right? Or are you 19?

Me: 29. Almost the big 3-0!

Grandpa: You’re get just getting started, aren’t you? Can I be personal, sweetie? Are you at all interested in finding someone to marry?

Beth: I think so. I just haven’t found the right one. And I’m okay being alone until that happens. If it does. How’d you know it was right with Grandma 62 years ago?

Grandpa: It just worked. We didn’t have to overwork. If it is right, you need to play it cool and say, “Let’s go.” Where’s Dixie?

Grandpa: Can I ask you a difficult question, precious?

Beth: Sure, Grandpa.

Grandpa: How old are you?

Beth: 29.

Grandpa: Well you’re an old fuddy duddy. You shouldn’t wait to settle down and have a family. If you meet a good man, don’t play it cool. Be forceful. Where’s Dixie? Should I go to the living room to be closer to where she comes in?

I love this time with my grandpa though I am confused on whether I should “play it cool” or “be forceful” or if I’m “just getting started” or am an “old fuddy duddy”. We watch the birds and the squirrels. We name a lizard “Josh”. We talk about his time in Osaka, Japan with the Armed Forced Radio Services. We refill the bird feeder. I bring him a piece of dark chocolate and he acts like he’s never had one before. “Why, this is exceptional. Is there an almond in every single one?” He’s utterly delighted. A couple hours later I ask, “Should we have a piece of dark chocolate?”

He responds, “Well there isn’t any here. Unless you think Grandma hid some.”

Grandma (AKA Superwoman full of patience and kindness) returns from her doctor’s visit and asks how our time was. “We enjoyed lunch, we went on a walk, we refilled the bird feeder, we had some tea and chocolate…”

Grandpa’s eyes get big and he asks, “We did all of that?!” He laughs and winks.

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