I adore my Grandma. She's led one of those lives that appear incredibly ordinary but would make a great book about perseverance and strength. She's lived with insulin-dependent diabetes since she was young. The test-three-times-a-day and take-shots-at-least-twice-a-day kind of diabetes.
In the years before he died, my grandfather started slowly showing signs of mental deterioration. One of his irrational and rather unreasonable paranoid ideas was that my grandma's diabetes was aggrivated by the fact that she liked to read her trashy romance novels. Paw got it in his head that when she started reading one she'd forget to check her sugar or eat and it would cause her sugar to drop at night. She wouldn't stop reading, so he started taking matters into his own hands. Every time he'd find one of her books he'd throw it out.
Paw died about five years ago. Since then Grandma's diabetes management has improved quite a bit. She's better about taking care of herself in part because she no longer has to worry about taking care of everybody else. She also reads more books, especially during the winter when she can't get out in the yard much and tends to get lonely. Every year since Paw died I've gone to the used bookstore and bought a stack of 50 cent trashy novels for Grandma for Christmas. Every year she giggles at me and is delighted. This year the used book store had a very small stock of appropriate books, and they had gone up in price. I only found a few to buy and was rather discouraged.
A day or two later I got a message from a local lady on PaperBack Swap. She had a huge pile of books and was desperately trying to give them away to somebody who would read them. I found a few I was interested in and told her if she wanted to get rid of any of her Harlequin-type romances that I would gladly take them for my grandma. The nice lady just stopped by to deliver my books and threw in twenty-five romance novels for Grandma. Jackpot! It's going to be a very Merry Christmas at Grandma's house this year. And since she tends to trade among her sisters, it's a gift that should keep on giving!