Monday, May 02, 2005


A week ago Sunday I drove ‘home’. Home to the town I lived the first seventeen years of my life. It’s been a year and half since I have been there. The saying ‘you can never go home’ isn’t as true for me as ‘going home is like stepping in quicksand’. Driving south on 103, a highway that curves and dips much like a ride in an amusement park, all I could think about was how it seemed like going back in time. But oddly enough, the closer I got, the older I felt. It’s an emotional imbroligio that only driving south on 103 can bring out. Then there’s that one last curve before descending into the river valley… that brief 15 second moment when Old Man River is visible through the trees… that one moment where everything washes over me and I feel a sense of awe mingled with sadness.

My grandmother is 93 and lives in the same house in which she raised her five children… and later, two grandchildren. She’s hunched over with age and severe osteoporosis; pale because she never leaves her house. She sits in ‘Grandpa’s chair’ by the window and watches the world go by. If someone doesn’t call her in the morning, she’s liable to sleep through the entire day. She forgets to take her medication and if it wasn’t for Meals on Wheels, she’d probably forget to eat.

Back in 1970 when my parents divorced, Grandma suddenly had her only son’s two small daughters foisted upon her. Closing in on 60, she raised us as her own. She fed us, clothed us, went to our parent/teacher conferences, nursed us through the chicken pox and various childhood illnesses, and taught us respect.

As I was leaving on Sunday I bent to kiss her on the cheek as she sat in the armchair by the window. Grandma looked at me somewhat beseechingly and asked “I did a good job of raising my five kids, didn’t I?” I told her she had, indeed, but that she needed to keep her whip handy for when Dad was around. She laughed, looked at me with a little twinkle in her eye and said “I think I did a pretty good job raising my two granddaughters, too.” All I could do was smile, kiss her cheek again and tell her how much I love her.

I cried as I headed north on 103…

I have never been here before but what a touching entry. Sounds like she did an esxcellent job.
Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by, Rachael.
Are you trying to make us cry too?
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