Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thanks, Rosalie

Rubs eyes walks toward fridge to make an Alka-Seltzer cocktail...the saltier, tastier, more cost efficient Equate brand antacid was sold out...I guess everyone is getting ready for back to school, eh?...

Child-rearing, drugs, Alzheimer's, global warming, recycling, interracial dating, the military, big breasts, promiscuity, slow learners, accelerated learners, custody agreements, homosexuality, racism, the musculoskeletal structure of different ethnic groups, genetics, color blindness, and hemophilia. This is a list of topics I covered with my grandmother during one of our regularly unscheduled 2 plus hour phone conversations. Did I mention Joe's teeth?! We talked about that too, my grandmother just loves Joe's teeth.
It's amazing how it really is true that you can be one person in the world or the world to one person. When my grandmother's glucose levels are on, she is the most entertaining, intelligent rational, amenable human being on the planet and although she is nearly 50 years older than I am there is no one who I find more pleasurable to be around. I absolutely adore her. It is an amazing feeling to have someone that knows your heart and protects it, someone who genuinely enjoys you for no other reason that the fact that you are you. We have always felt that way about each other. I vividly and warmly recollect our times together through the years, each of us glowing like childhood friends. I'll never know what happened with her relationships with her own children, and I'm glad. I choose to enjoy this relationship in blissful ignorance.
I am at an odd point in my life right now having sky-rocketed through my younger years, I find myself at 34 happy but lacking definitive direction. I'm on tour so to speak. Everything is wonderful-make no mistake, but I have no destination. This is a bit odd for me as I am generally in control, plan in hand. Could it be that I have finally arrived and the adage is true? Is success really in the journey? I guess I'll inevitably find out. I reflected on this as I was speaking with my grandmother who at 82...I think (I did mention the lack of accurate record keeping in rural South Carolina, yes?) is as inquisitive as Yael Rose at 8. When I brought up global warming and consumerism she immediately began to question her beef and pork consumption and her regular use of paper plates. I, of course assured her that the two or so plates she uses, as she is living alone these days-hardly causes a great deal of environmental detriment. Which was more relieving to her than the methane gas and cows dilemma. At which point she sounded worried and asked, "Well what can I eat?". Although it was in reference to global warming her voice had the suspicious tinge of influence from last week's conversation about her diabetes and her insistence on putting butter, cream cheese and jelly on her breakfast bagel. She's very funny about diet as most black southerners are. My vegetarianism is tantamount to cardinal sin back home. In southern accent, "Child you better c'mon here and git some of this good pork and things". The word "sin" has been thrown about quite freely and frequently in our home today...that's a whole other ugly story.
Our conversations are always mentally stimulating, such thought provoking topics between she and I, and the 50 years between us make for a most enlightening perspective. I realize my grandmother is an intellectual nomad. I know that the next time we speak she will have something to add to everything we covered and we will continue on this journey together. It's a most frightening prospect, 82 years is, in years traveled. In the 34 that I have had the pleasure of sharing with her, she has suffered many losses; friends, children, a husband. Yet, she sees no end. In my darkest times I draw on her travels and travails, and mark the map just one more stop along the way. I guess there really is no place to go, just a place to be. Thanks Rosalie.

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