Monday, June 12, 2006

Grandma turns 88

I woke up this morning with a dream that my grandma came to visit me and we were at the Oregon coast. A bus arrived, and my grandma realized there was an old friend on the bus, so this old friend (not someone I recognized, a black grandma type) got off the bus to talk to my grandma, and the bus driver pulled up to wait. I was concerned the bus had to go, but the bus driver nodded kindly and clearly indicated that there was no hurry, two grandmas catching up was more important.

I remembered on waking that it's my grandma's birthday, and she has lung cancer, so I wondered if this was a saying-goodbye sort of dream. I know she wants to see me again before she dies. Every time I talk to her on the phone, she asks when I'm coming to visit again.

Of course I called her today. My mom took her out to eat today, and my aunt took her out to eat yesterday. We talked some, and worried together some, about my cousin Tim. I won't pretend I'm close to him. He's a few years younger than me, and I remember the moment when I realized we just wouldn't grow up to have much in common. I think I was in high school, and we were having a conversation about things we liked to do. He liked to play war games and read about the history of the World Wars, specifically the weapons and vehicles of war. I couldn't understand the appeal of wars. Even then I carried the seeds of pacifism in me.

My cousin is a police officer, and is now a Major in the National Guard. My grandma was able to tell me this Friday he goes to train for a couple of weeks, then he goes to Saudi Arabia, then to Iraq. He has a little boy Alex, a little girl Gracie, and another baby on the way. Grandma tells me his wife Kristen is doing pretty well. She got really sick with the start of her first pregnancy, but this third one is not as bad. Tim hopes to be able to return for his baby's birth, but my grandma doesn't see how it's likely to happen. A couple or a few years ago he was sent to Afghanistan, and has been pleased, having a young family, that so far he hasn't been sent to Iraq. When I asked about the sore on his face that wouldn't heal (from Afghanistan), Grandma said she thought that was what kept him from having to go to Iraq, but she hasn't heard anything about that lately.

Grandma still does her laundry on Mondays, and still hangs them to dry on a clothesline outside. I think she has a small electric dryer but she never uses it. She prefers the feel and smell of clothes and sheets off the line. In the winter she hangs it all on lines in her basement. Today she told me she took a vacation, she's going to do her laundry tomorrow. Still, she sorted it today, because she "wants to get an early start."

The other thing on her mind is her roof. She has to get a new one. My brother and my uncle wanted her to get more than one estimate, but she doesn't want to deal with the aggravation. If she gets a decent estimate from the local guy, she's going to go with that, and I say why not? She needs to enjoy the life she has left. We chuckled in agreement.

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