Grandma Betty's surprise!
“Surprise!” they all yelled at once. It had been dark when Grandma Betty walked in but the lights came on the instant she opened the door.
“Surprise?” she scowled. “I’m ninety-two years old today. The only surprise is gonna be if that birthday cake don’t melt from all the candles on it. Whose idea was that anyway? Ninety-two candles on a cake. You should have just written 9-1-1 on the top of it so the grandchildren will know who to call when the house catches on fire.”
“Oh come on now,” bold Mary Beth tried. “We brought you something?”
Grandma shot her a warning glance. “Well it better be somethin’ that wears out fast because I don’t plan on leaving nothing behind when I go. I’ve already got my will laid out and I ain’t changing it. And the antique china you’ve had your eyes on is going to Mary Lou because she entertains a good bit more than you. Oh, and if you two want to fight about it, then please do so now. It might liven up the party.”
“No, no,” Mary Beth said with a gracious smile. “It’s just what you asked for.”
“No,” Mary Beth said the smile growing tense, “the other thing you asked for.”
“Well, surprise!” Grandma rattled. “I don’t remember so why don’t you tell me. And I hope you didn’t wrap it ‘cuz you know somebody else will have to open it, what with my arthritis and all.”
Robert stepped forward. “It’s in a bag.”
Grandma yanked the package from him and looked inside. “A blood pressure monitor! Now why in the world would I want one of these? If I’m alive my blood pressure’s okay. If I’m dead then it just don’t matter. Are you sure I didn’t ask for a blanket because that’s something I could use.”
“I got you a blanket,” Sarah Jean shouted out, as happy as someone who thought they’d won the lottery.
“Is it wool because you know I’m allergic to wool.”
Sarah Jean sat back down.
Grandma looked all around the room, stopped on every face and shook her head.
“Ninety-two years,” she said. “Ninety-two years and you still don’t get it. It ain’t a surprise if somebody knows about it.” She walked off muttering. “A blood pressure machine and a wool blanket. You might as well bury me now.”
Phil looked at Arnold after she left. “Tell me again, why do we do this every year?”
Seconds later the door to granma’s room flew open.
“Surprise!” she said to all the stunned faces as she howled with laughter “I gotcha. After ninety-two years, I finally gotcha! Now somebody give me a piece of that cake.”
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