And just like that it hits me. Hard and out of nowhere. I sit idly listening to my grandmother go back and forth trying to remember if she bought pie crusts on Monday or Tuesday, running through every rudimentary detail of those 2 days, until she comes to the conclusion that it was definitely Tuesday…or no, was it Monday? Agitated that she can’t fully recall, she dismisses the thought and proceeds to give me step by step details of how she is going to prep her desserts for Christmas this year. Every. Single.Minute.Detail. A story I’ve heard so many times I could regurgitate it myself. But this time, somewhere betwixt the plethora of sweet potato pies and a chocolate chip recipe that calls for Gold Medal flour and not White Lily, because for some reason White Lily just doesn’t work, I’m served with a healthy helping of homesickness. Out of nowhere I find myself laughing in between sobs and wiping away silent tears.
This is typical Granny, and what I once found as a slight annoyance (25 minutes of conversation, yet I haven’t gotten a word in edgewise) I find comfort in it. I delight in her voice, riddled with its country colloquialism and all. I can smell her kitchen. The kitchen I practically grew up in. I hear dishes clanking as she is rummaging through dish water; the same disgusting bleach water that I’ve loathed all my life, but again, it’s just so typical Granny. Always in the kitchen. Always doing something. Restless energy. And as if she could read my thoughts she stops mid sentence and exclaims she thinks she lost her dishwater stopper. This stopper is nothing more than just some random bottle cap that she plugs the sink with, that you have to position just right or all the water will drain out. But, false alarm she finds it and proceeds with her story without missing a beat.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep my sobs as quiet as possible. Tears aren’t a prevalent thing in this family. It’s usually pacified with an “Aww, you’ll be alright” and then it’s on to a less awkward and more comfortable conversation. I regain composure… for the time being. But then, she hands the phone to Granddad, better known as my Sunshine. I hear his voice and the dam breaks. I miss him so much. He’s a man of few words and after the formalities, we both sit in silence. The unbidden lump in my throat won’t allow any words to escape. So it’s just silence. After a few moments he asks again if everything is alright and if I’m taking care of myself. Finally, I find my words and manage a “yes.” I tell him that I miss them very much, and in true Granddad fashion he says, “Well, that’s how it goes.” Emotions aren’t his thing, but I know he’d give the moon, stars, and every galaxy from here to infinity to me and for me.
After the very brief exchange we bid our “talk to you laters” and “take cares”. And then I weep. Mercilessly.