Thursday, January 3, 2013

And Through The Woods

Days like this are few. You know the ones...the memory of these days stick when so many others fall away. Before today, I had met my Grandma only once as a young child. It's been over 25 years since that Easter and I wasn't quite sure what I would find.

An old house met me with a "Beware of Dog" sign in the window. My Grandma has no pets. 

We sat on "the davenport" and took pictures together and talked like we'd never been apart. I examined her face for glimpses of my own but mostly saw myself in her tenacity and straightforward manner. 

Standing on the upright piano, a photo of her as a young girl looked out at us with eyes that didn't know yet the struggle she would eventually face. Grandma asked if I played the piano. She used to give lessons and I caught myself wishing I had been one of her students. I pecked out a song I remember from my short lived lesson. "Would you like to hear me play?" she asked. Grandma's hands are gnarled and broken, stiff with age and arthritis. She wears a neck brace all day long and spends most of the time in bed. How could she play this old piano?

Waltzes. She loves walzes and her favorite song to play is "For Eloise" as it's labeled in her songbook. Her perfectly self painted fingers moved across the keys as if they knew not what time had done to them. 

And now I know my Grandma. I can't change the way things happened. I can't wish away the years of misunderstanding and hard feelings. None of it was up to me. But now it is. Now I can say I sat with my Grandma as she played and laughed and cursed a stray B Flat. I rummaged through her yarn and took a few skeins mostly just so I could say "Oh yes, I made this with yarn my Grandma Shirley gave me".  

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