Figuring out the perfect gift might just be saying thanks

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By Renee Sloan

Staff Writer

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, many of you are rushing to the mall to find gifts for your wives, mothers, grandmothers and mothers-in-law. After we make deadline, I will probably be right there with you in search of the perfect gift for my mom. However, there’s one person in my life that never wants any gifts—my grandma, Fay Wright.

Every year, I always ask her what she wants, and she says, “Oh, don’t buy me nuthin’. I don’t need anything.”

Of course, I usually buy her some smelly lotion or a box of candy that gets eaten in a matter of hours. (She is a serious chocoholic, and we probably should have staged an intervention years ago, but I couldn’t think of any other gifts, and thus, emerged as her primary enabler.)

I think I have a problem finding a gift for my grandma because she’s such an unusual lady. Growing up, I had the coolest grandma around. I mean, who else’s grandma flirted with the waiters in Ruby Tuesday’s? Mine did. I’ll never forget my mom’s face when my 60-some-year-old grandma told the 20-something waiter he had nice legs. My mom just covered her face with her hands, shook her head and laughed uncontrollably.

But that was just grandma. My grandpa died when I was just 6. Soon after, my grandma remarried, and then divorced about 10 years later. For much of the time I’ve known her, she’s been on her own. Most of the time she does well, but every once in while she does make some questionable choices.

One such time was when she mistakenly thought that wearing thick ‘80s style slouch socks on the outside of some Clorox-stained purple sweatpants was the current trend. She was so proud of her “trendy” look, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was tacky. But I didn’t have to; once grandma saw herself in the mirror, she made the mistake of asking my sister what she thought about her ensemble. My sister Ashley was about 8 at the time, and even at that tender age, was brutally honest. She said, “Well, we all thought you looked tacky, grandma, but we decided not to say anything.”

Some grandmas might have been offended by an 8-year-old’s brutal honesty, but my grandma thought it was hilarious and laughed all the way home.

Grandma was as good as gold, but she wasn’t perfect; she had a vice (other than chocolate). Until about six years ago, my grandma smoked cigarettes. Every time she went off with us, she would have to light a cigarette before getting into the car, and while walking to the car. One night, after visiting a local Mexican restaurant, my grandma had drunk a giant margarita with her meal, and was firing up one of her big ol’ cigarettes. (Seriously, those things looked like they were seven inches long.)

As we all got in the car, she opened the door, and got in—or so we thought. As my dad took off, we just heard her saying, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.” She didn’t sound particularly frantic, so it took us a few minutes to realize that she had not gotten completely into the car, and was holding on and using one leg to hop on the pavement as my dad drove down the road.

The cigarette was still hanging out of her mouth when we stopped, and we figured she couldn’t muster more than a “whoa” for fear of dropping it. Again, she wasn’t mad about it and laughed the whole way home.

Those are just a few of my grandma stories; I have several more. As you can see, with a grandma that unique, it’s hard to find just the right gift. Or maybe it’s just so hard because I know that no matter what kind of junky little trinket I buy her, it will never repay her for all she has done for me.

This Mother’s Day, I probably still will get her a bottle of smelly lotion, or a box of Godiva chocolates, but I’m also going to tell her how much I think about her, and how I am lucky to have such a wonderful grandma.