Sunday, December 16, 2007

Missing My Grandma

"I loved my friend.

He went away from me.

There's nothing more to say.

The poem ends, 
soft as it began--
I loved my friend."

--Langston Hughes

I slice cantaloupe once a week in the restaurant kitchen and am reminded every time I scoop out the goopey seeds of how my grandmother always saved cantaloupe seeds to place on the bird feeder--a simple wooden plank on a pole outside her kitchen window--for the Cardinals who always visited her and Papa's yard.

Yesterday as I walked home from work in the snow, I remembered the afternoon at Papa and Grandma's that found me and Grandma sitting together at the kitchen window watching the snow fall. I was trying to keep track of individual snowflakes as they fell to the ground when Grandma smiled and said conspiratorially, "Sometimes I try to keep my eye on just one snowflake from the time I first see it until it lands on the ground." I turned to her and exclaimed, "I do that too!!! I was doing that just now!!!" And she laughed and seemed so happy to hear that.

I just miss Grandma so much lately. "Little" memories like the cantaloupe seeds and snowflakes have choked me up a number of times in the past couple weeks: The Christmas I got a Cabbage Patch Kid and got so upset with Grandma when she said my doll was ugly. (She was comparing my dimple-cheeked and single-toothed doll to the kinds she had thought beautiful when she was a child.) The good laugh she, my mom, one of my aunts, and I had when Grandma pulled her roasted chicken out of the oven and I pointed out that she had unknowingly arranged the onion slice-rings into a smiley face on top of the bird. "Ohhhhhhhh! Count on my little artist to notice that!" she said, and we all laughed together some more as we carried the side dishes and the "grinning" chicken out to the dining room. How every Christmas, a Cardinal-red Poinsettia plant, an annual gift from one of Grandma's nieces, would sit in the same windowsill in Papa and Grandma's dining room.

Every few days lately, I walk around the display of red, cream, and pink Poinsettias at the grocery store and think about how I'd never really liked Poinsettias much until this year but how now when I see them, they remind me of Grandma and her niece and how real love lasts and can be relied on--distance and time apart be damned.


dawn said...

happy holidays, val!
i hope this year is the most magical yet.

i have to agree with your grams.
those cabbagepatchdolls were buttugly.

Val said...

Thanks, Dawn. I hope the holidays are sweet for you and yours too. :) And what can I say, I was a child of the 80s: My Cabbage Patch Kids were adorable to me. :)