Today I can’t go to school, you tell each person you see, because I have to go on a jumbo jet to Oregon. Who are we going to visit? I forgot. We are visiting Grandpa’s mommy, your great grandma Janice, I tell you. She’s really really old and in two more months she will die, right? No, not right. And you will die, too. Right? Hmmm.
Really old can be a physical state, but also a state of mind. And in your life’s experience when things get old, they break, they need batteries, we may toss them out, or give them to sissy because they don’t fit. When things are really old, Rocky comes and takes them to the dump, or Geoff knocks old stuff down with his dozer and hauls it away. We demolish, crush and take away the old and make room for new. Old, sick horses die, so do old dogs, old parakeets, fish and old people.
But no need to worry. We are not calling ourselves really old yet. And neither does Grammie in Santa Cruz, nor does Janice, Grandpa’s mom. Old people like to decide when they are old; like Hal Holbrook in the movie before sunset (or close to that) And we are not really old, just a little old. I told you what Grammie said, that she will be really old in eleven years; when you are fifteen, ready to learn to drive and growing soft whiskers on your face. That’s far away. But, you firmly remind me, “You are still gonna die in twenty two months. And then you will be dead. And you’ll miss me”, you surmise. If I was dead, you’d miss me, too. I suggest. “Yes. I will be sad. But not yet.” Let’s say that I will die someday; maybe even five hundred months from now. And that is so, so many pieces of time. So so far away. You’ll be a man and maybe have your own children by then. No-o-o-o.
Great Grandma Brown is happy in her apartment with her collections surrounding her. She has carved chickens, turkeys, cows, nests and many decorative boxes to play with. She has leaves that she stitched from cloth to place around the nest for your stuffed little owlets. She has buttons for assistance devices galore to push and switch and click. Sissy went nuts pushing, clicking and snapping things on and off. The rising chair goes back, vibrates, warms and goes up and down. The bed lifts at the head, the feet and in the middle, the chair zooms, stops, blinks, beeps and reverses, the low TV, clocks, remotes and light switches are just irresistible. You two worked on every automatic appliance in her place; checking what each could do, finding the limits, changing settings, squeaking them as far as they could go and finally (never tiring) we went back to the motel so your carpal tunnel wouldn’t act up again and also to give Uncle Mark a chance to reset it all.
Great Grandma makes quilts, prize winning, gorgeous, heirloom quilts that are valuable art pieces and each special to all of us in the family. We are so happy that she gave us one made in Bonny Doon to hang on a protected wall in our new bedroom. It has chickens, trees, ocean, ducks, plants, and all of them her own designs. We rolled it into a pillowcase, a special treasure, and can hardly wait to hang it on the finished wall.
You and Liza did so well on the trip. Lots of time on laps, snuggled into seats and being asked to try to stay out of mischief. You are amazing. The motel with the suite’s extra room proved invaluable so Liza could get to sleep by 6:30 or 7, you around 8 and Grandpa and I could have some quiet time alone before our own bedtime. (around 8:05) ha.
We sang in the rental car from Portland to Eugene, La, la, la, la, Lo-la, E-I-E-I-O and Mellow Yellow. Because Liza likes repetition most of all. She started singing ABCs with you and ended with e-i-o. Then every song you started she ended with e-i-o, and we all laughed. Oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun, shine your light on me. e-i-e-i-o. Row, Row, Row your boat gently down the stream-e-i-e-i-o. There once was a man named Michael Finnegan, he had whiskers on his chin-again, the wind came along and blew them in again, poor old Michael Finnegan, begin again. e-i-e-o. Great Grandma’s legs are really swollen, e-i-e-i-o. Metro pees on boots and shoes, e-i-e-i-o. I have to poop so can we stop, e-i-e-i-o. We are so clever at singing!
Thanks for helping us have so much fun on our trip. Grandpa and Liza really got to know each other. Wheeeeee on the roller bag. Hold my hand. Take a bite of this. Here want a drink? Let me hold you, munchkin. Tired backs and tired kids.
love gma, (who is not dying for hundreds of months-e-i-e-i-o.)