Yes. I have a Grammy. In this, her 99th year, I have begun to write her letters, send her notes and articles about things like molasses and how popular it is getting all of a sudden, and a postcard left over from our road trip to Graceland. I’m just assuming she was an Elvis fan at some point in the last 99 years.
Last summer we had a 98th birthday party for her in Woodstock, N.B., where she lives. All her grandchildren were present, every last one. Some of them came from as far as California and Saskatchewan, so I held back while she greeted each from-faraway guest with shock and delight. When it was my turn to enter into her room, she cupped my face in her hands and said, “It’s Karen!” And I have to say, it moved me. So did her cheeks, as full and rosy as they ever were.
And I quickly realized she herself was “as sharp as a tack,” as we like to say about people whom we don’t expect to be that way at all. She reads, and visits, and goes on outings and gets her hair done and complains about the food. And no wonder. This is a woman who made her own doughnuts, baked beans, maple syrup and I’m sure a million other things that I would never contemplate doing.
I can’t go see her, because I live two provinces away. And you know what? I can’t even guarantee if I lived closer that I would do that as regularly as I’d like to think I would. In my fantasy, I’m a visiting hero. Who knows what I really would be?
But what I did do was buy a package of stamps. I’ve learned that without stamps at my fingertips, my letters are written mostly in my mind. And I watch out for articles she might enjoy, like how molasses got all appealing all of a sudden, and again. And I rifle through my basket of cards and notes that I gather when I’m at hither or yon, and I mail one to her every couple of weeks or so. And it feels like a very important thing to me. Whether it is to her or not, I have no idea. But I think it might be.
It’s such a small thing. And it’s such a slow thing.
Finding the paper. Sitting and thinking about what to say. Printing it with a pen. Putting a stamp on it. Putting the leash on Dewey. Walking to the post office. Mailing it.
I think it’s good for her. I know it’s good for me.