“And how was your Thanksgiving dinner?” I said.
“Not great,” Maga said. “There’s a lot of older people who take their time with meals.”
Knowing she is 97 and eats with a delicate precision unless dessert is involved, I played along. “But at least the food was good, right?”
“I don’t know why the food isn’t better. The service is also very slow. I don’t really like it here.”
“But you had Aunt J and Uncle P for company.”
“When they’re not there, do you chat with anyone in the dining room?”
“Oh, yes. I have some friends I eat meals with.”
“What do you guys talk about?”
“Our families. The weather. It’s not very stimulating conversation. They’re all old!”
My adoration of her bubbled over and I couldn’t contain the chuckles.
“Some of them have local family. Some don’t. I sure wish my family was closer.”
“But, Maga. You have Aunt J and Uncle P! All I have nearby are the ghosts of Wellesley to keep me company.” (My wit had to be repeated and translated due to her hearing and inability to hear certain tones of my voice…) (Sigh.)
“True, true. Mom and Grandmom.”
“Your mom went to Wellesley?!?” I fairly shrieked as I was stuck on high volume from the previous bit.
“No no no. I’m your grandmom.”
“Oh! Ha. Right. Did Nana go to college? Or was that too long ago?”
“She went to kindergarten training school.”
Usually we’re talking about the family that came from Maga, not where she came from, so I took the chance to keep her talking about her mother. Yes, it’s Monday, but I had Christmas carols playing in the background and nothing but time for Maga, who happened to be on the ball tonight. Sure, things started off with nursing homes full of cranky old people, but it ended with nursing homes full of loved ones who were content with their surroundings (aka Nana).
Hopefully the lesson wasn’t obvious only to me.