“Wait one second, Abby dear. It’s the changing of the guard.”

I always try to call after that happens, but her beloved caregiver M stayed a little later today, so I eavesdropped while they said goodbye with tenderness. When Maga got back on the phone, she was all business. “What did you do for your birthday?”

“Oh, well, some friends came down to visit and we battled the snow on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, I invited some friends over and we did brunch. I learned I don’t have enough plates.”

“Oh no! What did you do?”

“Two of my friends are married, so they shared a plate and then the rest of us worked in shifts. The early arrivers ate first and then we washed the plates for the later arrivals. Next time, paper plates.”

Maga let out a peal of laughter at my hosting ineptitude.

“Did you host a lot of parties?” I asked.

“Not really. More often than not, we’d take friends out to the country club. It was easier all around.”

“True. But what about when your kids were growing up. How about then?”

“When my kids were growing up? That was a long time ago! But yes, I guess we did. For special occasions and things like that. Neighbors and friends we’d invite over. Do you have any business trips planned?”

“You know what? I don’t. After all that travel this summer/fall, I don’t have anything definite yet. I do not like that.”

“Do you take pictures?”

“With my phone.”

“Oh, so you don’t have any photo albums?”

“Nope. The last album I have is one my mom made for me.”

“Your mom is very good at that. She’s put some together for me and I have them here in this funny little place. She’s also good at postcards. I’m very fond of your mother. You can tell anyone.”

“I’ll make sure to.”

“Don’t you have a lot of winter birthdays in your family?”

“Especially in January.” I listed off my siblings’ birthdays ending with Brother G’s, whose was today.

“Oh, yes,” Maga said. “I talked to him last night. His family is doing well.”

“A stomach bug took them down, but yes, they’ve recovered and are doing quite well now.”

“He didn’t mention anything of that sort to me. I guess one doesn’t really talk about unfortunate things like that. But you and I can talk about it privately.”

I let out a peal of laughter at being able to override her manners and decorum.

Like grandmother, like granddaughter, I suppose.

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