My Grandma wasn’t Irish, but her birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day and every year she’d wear her dress covered in shamrocks and any green pin or necklace any grandchild would give her. My Mom would buy her green and white carnations and her giant cake would be covered in white and green icing. I’m thinking about all those birthday parties today and all the fun. It was a great way to celebrate a Grandma kind of Grandmother. Her birthday and Christmas were the few exceptions you’d ever see her without her apron, and not a half apron, a full apron. The kind you could easily get lost in when you got a hug. She was the kind of Grandma that had a candy drawer and made your favorites when you came to her house. She was a Grandma out of a book on “How to be a Grandma.” She had the most beautiful hands. When my Mom got a new piano as a gift one year she finally convinced my Grandma to play for us. Prior to that she’d only sit at the dining room table moving her lovely fingers to the imaginary keys. I grew up hearing stories of Grandma’s beloved father giving her a piano when she was nine years old, yet I had never seen or heard her play the piano until that moment and I would never again.
Thinking of you today Grandma, I miss you and all that you were, but as long as I’m alive you’re alive in me.
Did you ever find something that you forgot you lost? When I was about eight years old my Dad brought me back from a business trip a small hand mirror with my name written on it. I don’t have an unusual first name, but for the time it was a big deal to see something sold in a store with my name on it. (Yep, I’m that old) It was also a big deal when my Dad went away on trips. He didn’t travel for work very often but when he did it was very noticeable in our house. For starters we had a much more relaxed dinner menu, we ate everything he didn’t like and to a kid it was all the favorite foods. Despite the fact that he wasn’t home my Mom made it fun and he made it memorable, I still recall the first time he sent me a post card, just to me, I thought it was the coolest thing.
So I find this little mirror the other day at the bottom of a drawer and it immediately made me smile. I still remember being so surprised the first time I saw it. We knew not to expect “things” when relatives came to visit or when Dad returned from a trip but to this day it is still easy to remember the excitement when they came bearing treats. My Godfather would come to dinner and bring four big bags of candy, one for me and my three siblings. They were the family size bags, the kind that if you were lucky your whole family typically received and shared, but he spoiled us so that he brought one for each of us!
These are such little things, such tiny moments in a whole life but there is something about them that many years later they still have the power to remind you of a surprise that is as sentimental as it sounds. It is true, making the ordinary special, taking simple moments and making a lifelong memory. It’s comforting to know that something might be out of sight or out of mind for a while but when rediscovered, when found, it still holds a piece of you. When I come across something like this it makes me wonder if I’ve been that person in a child’s life, have I made a lifelong memory for them, one that instantly allows them to know they are surrounded with love. I sure hope so.
So I swear, I’m minding my own business and waiting in line at the store and the clerk is laughing with two men in front of me. One of the guys was buying what appeared to be some beige foundation because apparently he had used his wife’s and she found out and made him replace the entire bottle. The clerk was an older woman and she teased the man that he won’t be so vain the next time to use his wife’s make up and he laughed and agreed. Then it was my turn and I put my stuff on the counter and she just starts chatting with me about men. How “some men are just like that” and how much her mother loved her father, “but he had to go cause he was a ho.” I looked up at her and I heard the word OH come out of my mouth.
She said, “yep, he was a ho until the day he died, I had a wonderful step mother too and she told me along with my own mother that he was a ho and now his son, my brother is a ho too, just love women way too much.” With that she handed me the bag of items I had purchased and I said, well, you just never know and walked away.
Speechless on several fronts…..
What was it that Michael Scott said, “then suddenly she ain’t your ho, no mo.”