One day, my uncle (we'll call him Lord Licorice, or LL for short) looked at my grandmother (we'll call her Grandma Nutt) and got very worried. She was looking very jaundiced. He, being an opthalmologist type of MD, immediately sent her to see the Dr. (We'll call him. . .Dr. Gumm). Dr. Gumm immediately became concerned that she had kidney problems, cancer possibly, or kidney failure. He began running test after test. The problem was, all of those tests came back negative. Grandma Nutt was as healthy as a horse, but she was jaundiced. Her skin glowed orange and the whites of her eyeballs looked like a Halloween pumpkin waiting to be carved. Even her fingernails were orange. Dr. Gumm was frustrated. Grandma Nutt had all the symptoms of kidney failure.

One day, after another series of tests came back negative, Dr. Gumm started asking Grandma Nutt about her eating habits. Amongst other things, she revealed to him that she bought carrots, juiced them, and was probably drinking about 2 quarts of carrot juice a day. I imagine him staring at her for a second, with a mixture of disgust, frustration and relief on his face, and then telling her to lay off the carrot juice.

She did, and returned to a normal color--for her. She was pretty sallow to begin with.

I thought about this story the other day. Grandma Nutt has been on my mind a lot recently. She was nuts in a good way, hence the name. She was the quintessential grandma, with the knee-high nylons and the pink polyester paisley dresses that had elastic waistbands (with thermals poking out from underneath, cuz she was cold). She wore high neck blouses with a tie in the front, long sleeves, and button down. And she was tiny, so everything she put on was baggy on her. Oh, and I forgot the beige canvas loafers. She always had them on, whatever she was wearing.

She probably sewed everything she wore. She was an amazing seamstress--or so I am told. I don't know much about her. She was pretty far gone by the time I was born, and I didn't care enough to try to get to know her--something I regret to this day. She ate nuts on her pizza (when she finally discovered pizza and decided that she liked it) and liked to drive fast. She died when I was about 16. I didn't go to her funeral. The sorrow that I feel about her today comes from regret, not from knowing and loving her.

I think about her every time I go into a clothing store. She would have been right at home with current fashion. I actually have a hard time buying current fashion because I picture it on her and then I really can't buy it. She was a health food nut. She juiced and ground everything. The reason it took her so long to eat pizza was because it was unhealthy. Then she was on an airline going somewhere, and they brought her pizza and she loved it. She asked for more--with peanuts this time. She would make green drink with fresh Alfalfa. She almost killed my Aunt--Princess Lolly (wife to LL) because of some concoction that she'd brewed up that caused an allergic reaction in my aunt. She lived to be 96, so you can't fault her much.

And I think about her every time I eat a tomato. I'm almost obsessive about fresh tomatoes. (I don't even think about the Styrofoam tomatoes you can get in January. Bleh!) I sometimes wonder, in humor, to myself, if I can turn red like my grandmother turned orange. Can a person eat too many tomatoes? If so, I'm on my way. I have them at least two meals a day and sometimes three, and usually for a snack in between times. I love them. And I think of my grandmother.

She must have really liked carrots.
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7 Responses
  1. Kimberly Says:

    Hee hee! I can just picture all the tests being run and the doctor becoming increasingly frustrated! I don't know if I want to change coours when I get older, but I hope I'm half as interesting as her!

  2. I am surprised I am not red with green polka dots yet. I eat tomatoes, cucumbers and veggies like crazy. But then again I should also have brown dots for the chocolate I consume.

    Your Grandma sounds awesome!

  3. Blog Stalker Says:

    Great memories and a great post. I have heard about the carrot thing, don't think it works for tomatoes. So have at them! :-}

  4. Such a great post. I heard of a lady once that went on a carrot diet to lose weight and turned orange. Too funny.
    But I also like how you write about your regret so honestly. We all have that- a regret for mistreating or ignoring someone, especially in our younger years when we're more self focused. It's hard to live with that, but I hope you'll forgive yourself as I'm sure your grandma has. She must be forgiving, most true nuts are. :)

  5. Abra Says:

    Thanks for the advice! It's always nice to have another insight. Grandma Nutt sounds delightful! I am sure she knows how much you miss her... wouldn't it be fun to be orange for a day?

  6. EEEEMommy Says:

    An Ordinary Mom's comment made me think, "Wouldn't it be great if we could get a tan from eating chocolate and drinking coffee?" LOL

    This is tangential, but the thing that's disturbing to me is how quick the doctors are to run tests. You'd think he should have began his investigation by examining her diet. Sadly, that isn't the case.

    Enjoy your tomatoes. Ours were diseased, so we don't have as big a yield as I wanted to be able to freeze for that fresh tomato taste in January. I'm enjoying them while I have them though!

  7. charrette Says:

    Hahaha! I heard of somebody else that happened to, turning orange from eating carrots.

    Love the description of your grandma. Very nice. I have a similar regret, in that my grandma died when I was a missionary, but she had alzheimer's. So she was this amazing thinker/teacher/leader and a professional writer, but we mostly remember the batty stuff. Kind of makes me sad.