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The Baddest Grandma I Know

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My great grandmother, a strong woman who is dear to my heart, told me the following story. She is the most courageous woman I know, and I am truly blessed to have her as my mother.

Over eighty years ago, my great-grandmother fled an abusive father and was wandering the forests of the Philippines. A platoon of Japanese soldiers kidnapped her in the middle of the night while she was sleeping. Every day was hell for a month. She was impelled to do their cleaning and cooking. She suffered abuse, hit by the butts of their rifles and was once sexually assaulted by them.

Then, one day, she came up with an idea after having had enough. The day began, by selecting ingredients for evening meal her captors' were to eat. A sour soup, native to the Philippines, was to be served; when cooking, she planted a poisonous herb- the Rosary Pea into the side dish. She then returned to her prison cell, where she waited and waited and waited. Finally, in the dead of night, and the soup was served. Her captors ate became unusually tired and slept on the ground. My kickass grandma then crept into her rapists' beds and sliced their throats.

She gathered what she could carry and fled. Because there were mountains allover the forests, Filipino guerrillas hid in them and frequently shot at enemies, Japanese soldiers bypassed that area. Two Filipinos rushed to her aid as soon as she arrived at the base of the mountain. She spent the next five months working in the camp, not as a servant, but as a courier.

There were about three encampments: ours, the US army, and another one closest to the highway. Every few days, she and a small group of locals delivered messages, ammunition, and food to other camps. They would then return with information on the whereabouts of Japanese soldiers.

The one day, while on a run, the messengers and my grandmother were about to cross a bridge when a small Japanese parade appeared out of nowhere. My grandma's passé was aware of a small group of American soldiers hiding in an embankment near the bridge's base. They turned around and dashed back to the hiding place, where they discovered three clearly disturbed young American soldiers, hiding. The group assured them that they were locals and described the situation. One of the Americans then handed her two grenades and told her to throw them into the enemy's carriage. The young soldier for some reason wouldn't do it.

Grandma snuck into their horse-drawn wagon just entering the bridge and threw the grenades. The two exploded. Unfortunately, it did not kill the enemy soldiers, but it was enough to slow them down and distract them. Snipers hiding in the mountain took over and carried on shooting.

Later, the traumatized Americans returned to their base camp, safe. When the commander inquired as to what had transpired, they related the tale to him, and my grandma was presented with a medal, which she has kept ever since. She is still just as fierce at the age of 97 as she ever was.

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