“I’m glad you called tonight,” Maga said, “because I’m feeling extra lonely.”

“Oh, I know that feeling all too well.”

“I bet you do.”

“What has you feeling so lonely tonight?”

“Well, J and P left for South America today. They’re my only local family. They’re going to the Galapagos Islands.”

“No way!”

“Yes. When she studied abroad her junior year of college, she was in Peru and ever since then, she’s wanted to go to the Galapagos.”

The idea that my aunt was finally fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams was almost too much excitement for me to bear, but add in the fact I have three more friends headed to those exact islands in about two weeks from now…The coincidence was almost too much. I told Maga about my friends’ trip and she told me more about the details of Aunt J’s trip. But it was about that time when she asked me what time it was.

“It’s about ten of nine,” I said.

“Why that’s what time it is here. That means it’s about ten of eleven there.”

“Indeed. But it’s no problem. I’ve got to wind down from the night out. You know that buzz from being out with friends…”

“I do, indeed.”

Our talk of big dreams realized + nights out with friends was abruptly cut short after she dangled that provocative statement because she told me it was time for her to get ready for bed.

Master of the cliffhanger!

Girl knows how to keep the phone calls coming week after week.



“Tell me about Wellesley,” I said.

“How’d we get on this topic?” Maga asked.

“Well, I was bragging about you at work today and I thought I should get some more stories to add to my arsenal. Who was the most famous person you graduated with?”

She started to (re)tell me the story about her famous classmate, but got bogged down by the details and with nary a pause, “Oh my, did you see that girl’s dress?”

And famous classmates be damned, us ordinary ladies proceeded to watch the Olympics together on a typical Tuesday evening.



“Excuse me.” Maga’s words were muffled by the food in her mouth. “I shouldn’t be eating this gooey thing while talking to you, but it’s so delicious.”

“What are you eating?”

“Something your mother sent me, I think.”


“No. Chocolate covered strawberries.”

“You do love your sweets.”

“I always have.”

Her obvious enjoyment outweighed the garbled words. Is this what things sound like to her when she doesn’t have her hearing aids in?

“I think your mother sent these.”

“She might have. She was just there.”

“Chocolate covered strawberries. Is this something she’d send?”

“It does sound like her, yes. It’s probably an early Valentine’s treat.”

“Did I send you a Valentine?”

“You did. I have it right here in my hands. I haven’t opened it yet. I’m saving it for tomorrow.”

“Don’t open it yet,” she said at the same time as me. “Save it for tomorrow.”

Looks like I inherited my sweet tooth and patience from her!



It had been a day of meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting and I changed my plans at the last minute and so I went from a YA reading to trivia night. As such, it pushed my time clock back and I was forced to rely upon the two hour time difference between east and central time zones in order to maintain my Tuesday Maga call.

I called the moment I was free, but, being in a cab, the ambient car noise didn’t jive with my 96-almost-97-year-old-grandmother’s ears. Our conversation tip toed the line of weather and time and and and we’ve had these conversations so many times before…I can hear the worry behind the “how’s your weather” and the boredom behind “have you gotten snow” and the caring behind “what temperatures are you having?”

It was the kind of simple conversation you have once you’ve already had 1,000 others like it before now. It’s a privilege and an after-thought and an honor.