February 18, 2020

In order to avoid another go ’round about the weather, I asked Maga if she’d had any visitors lately.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Quite a few.”

“Oh, yeah? Who?”

“They were, you know, out-of-towners.”

“I assumed so.”

“Were they relatives? Friends? Neighbors?”

“As I say, they were out-of-towners.”

Perhaps if you say something repeatedly, it’ll be true. (Like if you stand in front of a mirror at night and say… you know what, nope. Never mind. Not going there.)

“Are you coming for my birthday?” Maga asked.

“Wouldn’t miss it.”

“How old will I be?”


“I hope I last.”

“You will.”

“I’m planning on it.”

Maybe she should say it aloud a few more times to make it so?

“What airport are you going to to get to me?” she asked.




“Oh, yes. That’s near where I live.”

“Yup. It’s not that far from you.”

“It was built recently, so it’s convenient and handy and so on.”

One, it was built in 1995. I guess when you’re 99 and 11 months old, that is recent, so… Two, she’s stating things into fact again. This time she was at least using a thesaurus. Three, I gotta try this speaking things into existence gig.

“I’m going to win the lottery. I’m going to win the lottery. I’m going to win the lottery.”

*waits for it to start raining money. or men.*


February 11, 2020

“What did you do today,” Maga asked.

“I made shrimp scampi.”


“Shrimp. Scampi.”


“I made seafood for the first time.”


“I had an adventure in the kitchen.”

“Doing what?”

“Making seafood.”

“What kind.”



“What’s your favorite meal?” I asked.

“Golly. I can’t think. I’m not that picky.”

She fell silent for a bit. I let the silence linger in case she was thinking of a better way to answer.

“Roses and rosé,” Maga said.

Now the silence lingered as I spent some time pondering an appropriate response.

She continued right on, “This episode brought to you by stunned silence.”

(I kid you not. I am not making this up. This is the exact caption she read aloud. I know because I wrote it right down and my handwriting was shaky from my suppressed laughter!)

“Umm, Maga, what?”

“I can’t make out what’s on the television.”

“Oh.” (still trying to contain my laughter from her caption reading)

“I’m not making very much sense to me,” she said.

(Me either.) “It’s okay. It’s probably just a commercial. It doesn’t need to make sense.”

“Are you coming for my birthday?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.”

“How old will I be? 98?”


“How could I be that much ahead of the world?”

Ahead of the world, and yet, behind in tonight’s conversation. She’s truly a treasure. <3


February 4, 2020

“What did you do today?” Maga asked.

“I went to work. Ran some errands. Now I’m home.”

“And how are your studies?”

“My studies? What do you mean?”

She fumbled for words. “You know what I mean.”

“No, not really. That’s why I asked.”


“I’m not in school, so I don’t have any studies.”

“You’re not?”

“No. I think I’m done with school. Two degrees is enough.”


“So, how is your evening? Did you go to the cafeteria for dinner?”

“I did. It was okay. What did you have for dinner?”


“Were they delicious?”

“The first three times, it was. This time I’m kind of over it.”

“Did you have anyone over?”

“No. It was just me. Like usual.”


Her words didn’t come easy tonight and, as such, I wasn’t sure if I was disappointing her with my answers or my lack of interesting things to talk about.

“Uh oh,” I said. “I think one of my plants is dying.”


“I’m watering it and it some of the leaves came off. It’s also changed color from green to very light yellow. And it’s kind of flat now.”


“Did you have a green thumb?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Well, did you enjoy taking care of plants?”

“I liked feeding them and watering them and doing all the things to make them happy.”

Oh, huh. If that’s what it takes, no wonder this poor succulent is reacting this way!

Well, if you need me anytime soon, I’ll be over here disappointing people and accidentally murdering plants.



January 28, 2020

“I’m not liking the life I’m leading now,” Maga said.

“Oh, dear. Why ever not?” I asked.

“I’m not feeling well and there’s only one relative close by.”

“That’s one more than I have, so I understand that loneliness.”

“I bet you do.”

In an attempt to turn the conversation towards a happier topic, I mentioned that today was Sister E’s birthday.

“IT IS!?” Maga cried in a tone that implied I’d been purposefully keeping the information from her.

I hadn’t. I wasn’t. But the conversation devolved from there. It was a lot of me repeating myself. Sample topics:

Sister E’s phone number (6x), her address (6x), the city she lives in (5x), that it’s her birthday (5x), my address (2x), my city of residence (3x), Maga’s birthday (3x), who will be there for her birthday (2x), and, of course, the weather (4x).

Considering she was feeling crudsville and is inching ever closer to 99, I’m happy to talk (ad nauseam) about any topics, even if/when limited in scope.

However, I will admit it wasn’t a hardship to say goodbye when the nurse dropped by with Maga’s nighttime medicines…


January 21, 2020

“Life isn’t terribly interesting right now,” Maga said. “But I’m trying to make good.”


“How’s your weather?”

“Cold. And a little snowy. But mostly, cold.”

“Oh, that’s not too good.”

“It is winter. Gotta get through that to get to spring.”

“You have a friend who’s thinking of you?”

“Me?” I said.

“Yes, you have a friend.”

“Well, yes, but I was talking about the weather.”


Recognizing it was going to be one of those nights, I tried to stick to questions with immediately accessible answers. “Did you have some visitors today?”


“Really? Not even my parents?”

“Oh, yes. C and A [read: me] came over earlier,” Maga said.

“What about my dad?”

“No. He didn’t come.”

“What about Aunt J?”

“Yes, she was here too. Two girls.”

“Three ladies counting you.”

“Yes, yes, I’m good.”

*gets whiplash* “I’m glad to hear that, Maga.”

“Do you have any animals,” Maga asked.




“But you have pets.”


“Well who am I thinking of?”

“Whoever it is, it’s not me.”

“I guess not.”

“Oh, Abby, I am so confused!”

“That’s okay. You’re 98. Your brain has a lot of other information in it.”

“I guess that’s right. Do you… Have you… Who… What am I trying to say?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know.”

“You don’t know and I don’t know so that makes two of us.”

And the two of us continued our broken conversation for awhile longer until I sensed it was causing her more distress than comfort.

“Maga, I’m going to let you go now. Just relax and watch some TV.”

“When are you coming to visit me?”

“In March.”


“For your birthday.”

“You are?!”

“Of course. Like I do every year.”

“Oh, we’ll have to have a party.”

“Of course! 99 is a big deal.”

“However did I get that old?”

“By living 98 years before it.”

“I guess that’s right,” Maga said.

And on that semi-coherent, semi-happy note, I bid her adieu because one + one on the phone tonight did not equal two happy ladies. She didn’t know and I didn’t know and these calls are not meant to cause stress. Sometimes you have to recognize when the math’s not adding up, the language might not be either.