How Grandma got me rethinking "just say no"

So as long as we are telling Grandma stories, I will share one of my recent favorites:

About two years ago I was out on one of my all too infrequent visits to the Twin Cities. When you come to the Twin Cities you go to Grandma's house. And by house I mean one bedroom apartment where roughly twenty people can all find available floor/couch space and make it into an impromptu party that puts Mexican fiestas to shame. All who enter must either grab themselves a pop, an ice cream bar, or some of the Dove chocolate candies that are in some crystal dish. You are best served grabbing yourself something right away, because Grandma does not easily accept "no" as an appropriate answer to mid-day goodie consumption. Just another reason my husband thinks she walked straight out of Central Casting's grandma department.

Anyway, it was a quiet afternoon, just Grandma, my husband and my folks plus the hourly drop by of one of my five aunts. I was bringing Grandma something from the kitchen, and as I put it down next to her recliner, I saw a sticky note on her tiny side table.

In Grandma's elegant script penmanship it read: "Ask Kaye about Crystal Meth."

Several wildly conflicting emotions went through my head. First I was a little alarmed that Grams might be interested in picking up a serious drug habit. Then I was a touch in awe of her counter culture coolness in her mid eighties. Damn, I hadn't even smoked pot, and here she was thinking I might have connections with the drug world. Which led me to my next concern which was how to let her down gently because even though I was a lawyer and my husband worked in criminal prosecution that didn't mean I could score her some of the happy stuff from Lil'Antony in Cell Block 8. But then I did think about how her family had lost the farm and all the other sucky circumstances she lived through and I began thinking "Well, anything for Grams." But then logic kicked in and I figured before I risked my standing with the Bar, I might want to ask her what the hell she meant by "Ask Kaye about Crystal Meth." But really, how many interpretations could there really be?

So very tentatively I asked her about it. She looked up at me with her bright, crystal blue eyes that I swear twinkle, and the sweetest of smiles went across her face.

"Hey, Grandma, what's this?" I said picking up the sticky note.

"Ohhhh, yes! Thank you honey, I've been wanting to ask you about that."

"You wanted to ask me about crystal meth . . .the drug?" Just checking here. I don't know, maybe Madame Alexander was trying to appeal to a more urban demographic with a limited edition doll that came with ripped jeans, a leather jacket and black circles under the eyes and went by the name Crystal Meth.

"Uh huh." Still smiling. Still looking so sincere and earnest.

"Okay . . ."

"They were talking about it on the news the other day. What is that stuff? I don't know why anyone would want to take such a thing!" And there is one of the other great things about our Grandma. The woman has educated herself by reading every newspaper she can get her hands on and watching all the news programs. She has her favorite anchors and then there's "those idiots" who just don't know what they are talking about.

I just hope that side of the gene pool kicks in for me. If that's what life can be like in your eighties, I'm looking forward to it.