I just read something completely disturbing from one of my outdated issues of Women’s Health Magazine.  On the back page of the October 2007 issue they give random statistics from about The Average Woman (“AW”) concerning health care.  For example, the length of time the AW sits in the waiting room per visit is 21 minutes.  And on the subject of TV docs (an important topic on the subject of healthcare), the AW would most want to play doctor with Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy.

But also on the subject of TV docs is the disturbing fact I just saw which is the TV doc the AW would want in charge of her health.  According to the AW polled by Women’s Health Magazine it is Gregory House.  Are you kidding me???  I’ll admit that Dr. House is a brilliant physician but hello?  He’s also addicted to pain killers!  Do you really want a doctor addicted to pain killers in charge of your health care???

Oh…wait….OK, yeah I guess I can get that. 

Last month when my Grandmother died I posted a top 10 list of the things I learned from her.  It was a list I put together for her memorial service and while it seemed a bit on the light side, I realized as I was putting the list together that each of those things did have a deeper meaning than what they may have seemed on their surface.  Number 10 was: Be a member of the clean plate club. 

I’ve actually spent the past several years cursing Grandma for this lesson.  I was a pretty fast learner when it came to cleaning my plate.  At age 5 I felt proud to hear Grandma describe me as a “good eater.”  At age 35, not so much.  But in her defense, Grandma had a reason for this attitude. 

I didn’t realize until much later that my Grandmother spent the majority of her childhood years hungry.  She lived in a home where food was in short supply which is probably unheard of for many of us.  It’s something that I can not even imagine. 

It also explains a lot about my Grandmother’s attitude about food and why she was such a good cook.  She loved food and nurtured it like a treasured pet.  She always had something to eat in the house and it was always good, no matter what it was.  Granma could make liver and onions taste good.  And she never wasted a bite.  Brown bananas were turned into banana bread.  Last night’s leftover corn was mixed into morning pancakes.  Grandma once called me a “rich bitch” when she caught me throwing out mushroom stems, lamenting the fact that I didn’t know what I was missing because I had never tasted real cream of mushroom soup. 

But the thing about using the last little bit of something was Grandma made it seem like that was the best part.  I always felt like the lucky one when I got the sandwich made with the heel of bread because Granma told me, “I used to love eating the heel when I was little.”  When our morning cereal was a mixture of raisin bran and Cheerios we thought it was a special treat.  It never occurred to me until years later that the real reason why Granma mixed the cereal is because she didn’t have enough of one kind to go around. 

So in honor of my Grandmother, I will gladly be a member of the clean plate club.  Because being a “good eater” is not really a bad thing.  It just means you know that the last bite is always the best one. 

As you may already know, my Grandmother died this past week.  It was sad but not in a painful sort of way; not for me at least.  My grandmother was 100 when she died.  She led a rich, full life and was sharp minded until the very end.  For me her death has been a bittersweet experience of memories and letting go. 

In the days leading up to and after her death, my dad started commenting on all the things that Grandma (his mother) had taught him.  He got very contemplative about it and ended up giving her a heartfelt tribute at her memorial service, as any eulogy should. 

I also started thinking about all the things Grandma taught me.  While my list may seem trivial, it actually isn’t.  Someday, if I’m motivated, maybe I’ll be able to expand on my top 10 list of things I learned from Grandma:

10. Be a member of the clean plate club.

9. Always empty out a drawer for overnight guests.

8. Don’t leave shoes on the table. It’s bad luck and also gross.

7. Never underestimate the power of a thank you note.

6. If you’re going to cheat at solitaire you might as well not play.

5. Pumpkin pie filling is made with half and half, NOT evaporated milk.

4. Don’t use the guest towels hanging in the bathroom; use the paper towels placed by the sink.

3. Skelatonkey is actually two words.

2. A “dot” is more than a tablespoon but less than two forkfuls.

And the number one thing I learned from Grandma Teetsel:

Bea Arthur was a bitch. (But didn’t completely ruin Golden Girls.)

I love you Gramma!