“And where are you?” Maga said, sounding like she had a wad of cotton in her mouth.

“I literally just walked in the front door to my apartment. I’m home now. Is everything okay with you?”

“No. I’m in terrible pain. My mouth. I had a toothache. They took my tooth out this afternoon. I’m in terrible pain and no one knows what to do to fix it.”

“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry to hear this. I can call back tomorrow.”

“No. No. I like talking to you.”

“Oh, but Maga. If you’re in pain, we can talk at another time.”

“No, no. Now is fine.”

Not entirely sure this was a wise course of questioning, but hoping to distract her from her pain, I went for it. “Have you talked to Uncle D lately?” (He’s the 3rd of Maga’s 4 kids, and he lives in Katy, TX, which is about 20 miles from Houston.)

“I have. Can you believe what’s happening over there?” Her voice was now clear and apparently sans cotton swab shoved in there.

“I was following along through updates from my mom, but I found I had Uncle D’s number and I checked in with them today. It was nice to be able to reach out directly.”

“I imagine so. It’s so wild what’s going on down there.”

“Terrible. I’m so glad they’re okay.”

“Me too.” Maga’s voice took on a more dreary tone.

“Are you in pain again? I can call back tomorrow when you’re feeling better.”

“No, no. I could use a cheery voice right now.”

I’d actually needed the same thing earlier tonight, and had received it from one friend far and one friend near, and so, I was more than willing to pass on that cheeriness to someone suffering from both tooth and heart pains brought on by recent events.



We were wrapping up the conversation when Maga said, “And it’s Tuesday, so thank you so much for calling.”

“Actually, it’s Wednesday.”

“IT IS?!”


“Well where were you yesterday?”

“It’s more like where were YOU yesterday?”

“Oh, you know, I was out to dinner with T & B.”

“…dinner with T & B.” (I chimed in since this wasn’t the first time we’d talked about her dinner companions tonight.) “I called you twice last night!”

“You did? Did you leave any messages?”

“Yes. Both times with your caregiver. The first time she told me when you were expected back home. The second time when you still weren’t back yet (that T is a talker!), she told me she’d tell you I called.”

“She didn’t tell me.” Maga sounded mildly, borderline enraged.

“Not to worry, Maga,” I soothed, giving the caregiver the benefit of the doubt over Maga’s short term memory. “That’s why I called back tonight. And that’s why I said ‘Is it really you?’ instead of ‘Hi, Maga’ when you picked up the phone.”

“Oh. Well,” she chuckled. “Good thing you’re persistent. I appreciate it more than you know.”

Such a sexy character trait. Hmm, maybe I should add that to my dating profile?



“When’s your next trip,” Maga asked.


“Oh, I’m having visitors on Thursday too.”

“My mom and dad, right?”


“I’m also headed west, but not quite to Colorado.”

“And why are you going there?”

“To celebrate my friend’s bachelorette party.”

“Is this a friend from work?”

“No. We have mutual friends in common.”

“Oh. So this is for her wedding shower?”

“Not exactly. The bachelorette party is more like a celebration of her last, wild night out before she has to settle down into marriage.”

“Oh my. We didn’t do anything like that when I got married. Is she from [city we’re going to]?”

“Nope. She’s from here. She’s local.”

“Do you know her from work?”

“No. From mutual friends.”

“I’m glad I’ll have visitors this weekend too.”

“Me too.”

“And if you ever get the urge to travel out west to my area, the invitation’s always open.”

“I always have the urge to see you, Maga! I’ve been out twice already this year which is once more than my usual, but I’m hoping to get another trip out to you under my belt.”

“You have been out twice, haven’t you?”

“I wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t true.”

Although sometimes the urge not to repeat myself 15x does lead me to stretch the truth from time to time… ;)


8.8.17 – 8.9.17

The first call was on a train. Too much background noise to hold a conversation with a 96yo.

The second call was too short. Too little time between my friend finishing up and dinner needing to be ordered.

The third call hit a snag as I was unlocking my door and my neighbor, thinking it was his fiancé on the front porch, appeared in the doorway in an outfit not entirely fit for public consumption. My laughter confused Maga who demanded, “Why are you laughing?” as if I was the one being inappropriate. If only she could see what I did.

I tried to explain it, but this being our third time trying to connect this week, me being constantly on the move was too much for her brain to process.

“And how are you?” I steered the conversation back to neutral ground.

“I’m 96. That’s how I am.”

Apparently NOT a safe topic choice. I tried again. “Have you ever been to Maine?”

“Oh yes. Nila Slaven used to invite Nana and I up to visit. She had a tennis court and such.”


“Nila Slaven. She was very wealthy.”

“With a tennis court at her house? I’ll say. Did she have any children for you to play with?”

“No. I don’t believe she was even married.”

“Wow. And all that money?! That’s a story I’d love to hear.”

“She met Nana on a boat to Europe and they became fast friends. She’d invite us up every summer for a couple of weeks.”

“Oh, yes, Blue Hills. My mom showed me where you used to go. It’s fairly close to where we were just staying. How long would it take you to get there? Did you drive?”

“Back in those days, we took the train. Probably to Bangor and then someone would pick us up from there.”

“Uh, in these days, I take the train. That’s what I was doing last night when we couldn’t talk!”

“Good point. I guess things aren’t so different.”

Minus the part where I have friends with tennis courts on their private estates.