Tree up – check
Outside lights – check
Gifts bought - check
Gifts mailed – check
Gifts wrapped and hidden from the kids (like it matters) – check
Credit card bill received/heart attack – check
Stress producing family situation – check
Stress producing work situation – check
Ready to make lots of good cookies and not care what I weigh - check
Well, we have our Ho Ho Ho on around here.
I have a ghost in the car.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the car lately. Going to the gym, grocery store, Costco (motto: you can’t afford to save this much money) mall, post office…toing and froing busily.
I’ve had a ghost in the car. My Grandmother.
Christmas shopping, I found a pair of lilac leather gloves with cashmere lining that she would have loved. From that moment on, every time I get in the car, it’s been as if she was with me. It’s weird. Why the car? Who knows – maybe because I don’t drive around yakking on a cell phone. I have more time to think about things I miss. She had a walk-in closet that was packed. She could have gone a year and never repeated an outfit, with shoes to match.
I miss my Grandmother. Her name was Idell. She was called Dell. I like names that start with I – Irene, Isodore, Idell.. But I digress….
She was really my Step-Grandmother. My real maternal Grandmother died when I was 11 of some icky thing like throat cancer (I don’t think I’ll call my Mom and fact-check this). Within a few years my Grandfather had remarried. I remember my Mom telling me it meant that he had a great first marriage, that he would take a chance on love again.
I think Dell was really taking the chance. Her first marriage was a disaster and she divorced him back when women did not do such things. Her second marriage was to “Mr. Morgan” who died young. She spoke of him with affection always. Then she enlisted again - a widower with five grown daughters, who expected her to treat him like gold (she did) and wait on him hand and foot (she did that too). Part of the deal, she told me when I asked her why she always brought my Grandfather coffee in bed in the mornings.
When she was 90, she wanted to do a March of Dimes walkathon. Sure, I’d do it with her. Nice cold blustery March day. She marched me for a good 4 hours. It was getting dark and I was pretty sure I was going to pee ice cubes. I wanted to go home. Finally, I flagged down a police car and said “Can you take me and my 90 year old Grandmother back to the start point? She’s all systems go but I am TIRED.” She was a little pissed at me for quitting before we had done the whole route. She asked the police man “Can you run the lights and siren?” So he did – it was great. Got me to the bathroom sooner. Got her over being pissed at me for folding after 4 hours March in the cold. My 40 could not keep up with her 90!
When my kids were little I used to pick her up once a week and take everyone to McDonalds. They all loved the kid meal, and the actual kids could play on the playground while G’ma and I talked and laughed. One time, dropping her off, she said, “do you guys want to come see the ducklings?”
Behind her retirement home was a pond, and sure enough, there was a mama duck and 8 ducklings. They were cute, swimming around peeping. Mama duck was ok with us as we sat right down and did not move. Finally, she marched her brood out of the water and gathered them all under her wings. She made this whispering sound and settled them all down. My Grandmother looked at me and said “naptime.”
I’ll never forget how happy that moment was, sitting in the sun with some of the people I love best, knowing something special was happening.
You go Dell; have fun in heaven over Christmas. But get out of the car ok? It’s making me too lonesome.
I carry you in my heat always.