I Just Don’t Know What to Say

I am trying to lift myself up, improve my own mood, move under my own power. I am succeeding, in no small part, to the Internet… because even if I can’t bring myself to shower and get dressed, I can still craft my resumés and cover letters to each job. Getting more than that done in a day is stretching it at the moment, because I didn’t expect to lose my grandmother so soon after my mother, and although she is still in hospice and has not passed away, at this point it is a foregone conclusion for all of us in the coming weeks. On Saturday, my grandparents will have been married for 67 years, and I cannot imagine what that looks like for my grandfather. I will never have that life experience, because while I’ve experienced marriage at its best and worst, I’ve never been with anyone that long. I’ve also never lost a partner to death, only divorce, and they are two distinct types of grief… as separate as losing a mother over a spouse.

Though my grandfather doesn’t blog, he does write family histories on self-bound paper that look like them (written in the same style)… Therefore, we have catalogs of memories to thumb through as we celebrate and then mourn. No one writes about my grandmother like my grandfather, and no one ever will.

The memories I have are mostly centered around childhood Christmases, because “Nanny” is famous for buying Christmas presents all year long and stashing them in the closet in the “new room,” an addition added before I was born (I think), and yet, we still call it that. The results were often hilarious, like the year I cut off all my hair and there were scrunchies in my stocking.

We were the closest when my dad was pastor of First Methodist in Naples, a mere 18 miles from Lone Star, not only because we loved being at their house, but also because they have a swimming pool and then, we didn’t. My grandfather built it by hand, a huge above-ground with a dome often covered in pine needles. Sometimes my parents would drive us, and sometimes Nanny would come and get us in this boat-sized car that we called the “Mean Green Honking Machine.”

The story that Nanny tells on me is that when I was three or four, she told me that she would take me out to eat anywhere I wanted to go, thinking that I’d say McDonald’s. But no, I chose Johnny Cace’s Seafood & Steak House… a foodie even then. They brought little toasts to your table with cheese spread, sweet corn relish, and pickled okra. And on the way out, you got to pick a toy from the chest by the exit. I’m not sure I ever ordered dinner, even as an adult. I preferred eating all the okra when no one was looking.

Nanny visits me in my dreams, bringing old memories with her, as I hope she enjoys the new, new room.




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