Archive for October, 2019


October 15, 2019

“And how are you today?” I asked.

“I’m just back from dinner, so I’m well filled,” Maga said.

“Oh, nice! What did you have?”

“Umm, well…I can’t remember.”

“No worries. As long as you’re not still hungry.”

“Whatever it was, it wasn’t spectacular.”

“You know that sounds an awful lot like my dinner.”

“How so?”

“Not spectacular, but filling enough.”

“Did you go out to eat?”

“Nope. Stayed in.”

“That certainly is easier.”

“And more affordable,” I said.

Maga laughed rather heartily at that. I was pleased with making her laugh, but confused at why being financially conscious was so humorous. Maybe if I was in on the joke, my finances would be in better shape?

“How is your weather,” Maga asked.

“Very fall-ish today.”

“It rained?”

“Nope. Not yet. But it is cooling down. I’m not ready for that quite yet.”

“I think of the cold coming and it’s not happy.”

“I agree!”

“There’s nothing we can do though. That’s just the nature of Mother Nature.”

The poetic nature of her comment lulled me into silence about climate change. I decided to let her comment stand as is rather than get into a discussion about it all, especially since her attention was equal parts focused on the TV, asking what I did today, and using a toothpick to make her tooth feel better.

She had the inside track on finances. I had the inside track on climate change. And yet, here we were talking superficially. Sometimes a phone call is for comfort instead of information. At 98 years old, she’s earned a few passes.


October 9, 2019

“I’m watching The Walking Dead,” Maga said.

“WHAT?!?” I screeched. Her voice had been soft and shaky before, but rang through clearly and confidently now. “WHY??”

“It’s Jaws. The movie with the sharks. J-A-W-S,” came the caregiver’s voice from the background.

“I’m watching The Walking Dead,” Maga said.

“It’s just a commercial,” said the caregiver.

“I don’t know what is happening here,” Maga said.

I was inclined to believe it actually was Jaws, but The Walking Dead had some sort advertisement along the bottom, which was steady enough for Maga to latch onto whereas the ocean and the sharks inside were not. I played along. “It is October after all. Tis the season for scary movies.”

“Is it scary?”

“It’s about zombies.”

“What is a zombie.” She didn’t so much ask as command me to tell her.

My brain scrambled as I thought of the best way to describe it. “They’re undead people.”

*Silence from Maga.* I tried another tactic. “You know vampires? They’re like that sort of creature, but they eat human brains instead of blood.”

“Oh dear.”


“I don’t know if I want to be watching this.”

“I sure wouldn’t be. I hate scary movies and shows. You’re braver than me!”

“It came on rather suddenly. I’ve got it on whether I want it or not.”

She was referencing the TV station, but also, unintentionally, bravery itself. It often does come on suddenly and whether you want to be or not. Sometimes it’s in big moments like fighting (or running away from) zombies. Other times, it’s in the small moments like when you lay awake in the dark of the night unable to sleep.

Judging from the rest of our conversation, she was going to need a healthy dose of bravery and/or some sort of sleep aid. I’m betting on her ability to keep going despite the scary TV show, the upcoming scary time of night and the scary month (of October) (of her favorite child being away) (hi, Aunt J). Like our phone call, she started out shaky, but she always ends up firm, opinionated, and stubborn. All of which are traits that play well with bravery.

Yeah, she’s ready for whatever comes.


October 8, 2019

“How was your day today,” Maga asked.

“It was good. I just got back from dinner with my friend.”

“Do you eat out often?”

“Not as much as I used to. I’m trying to save money.”

“Oh, yes. That’s a good thing.”

“The food that comes out of my kitchen isn’t as good though…”

“That’s life,” Maga said. “Take it as it comes.”

There’s some tough love for you on this Tuesday night. And by you, I mean me.

“Is it dark there?” Maga asked.

“Very,” I said. “It’s 9 o’clock.”

“Oh, well, yes, I guess it would be then. And where are you again?”


“Oh, yes. For three years I was there.”

“You were only at Wellesley for three years?”

“Wasn’t I?”

“College is usually four years.”

“’38 to ’42. How long is that?”

“Four years.”

“I thought it was only three years. Well, whatever it was, I endured it.”

I very nearly choked on my surprise. “You didn’t like it?”

“I don’t like how it’s getting dark so early now.”

“Me either. I also don’t like how rainy it was today.”

“It’s the time of year for rain,” Maga said.

“You’re right, but sometimes the rain helps you appreciate the sun even more.”

“Right you are.”

“Right YOU are,” I corrected.

“I guess we’re both right,” Maga said, allowing us to liberally continue congratulating ourselves on making it through another Tuesday, another gloomy (literally for me, figuratively for Maga) day, for being right about the season, and for carrying on a conversation despite some of the unexpected twists involved.


October 7, 2019

“Is it Tuesday?” Maga asked.

“Monday,” I said.

“You’re a little earlier than usual.”

On one hand, yes, Monday is earlier than Tuesday. On the other hand, I’m early 90% of the time, so I was right on time per my internal clock.

“I guess I am,” I settled for.

“Any fun travels lately?”

“I was in NH yesterday.”

“Oh, yes. Didn’t you call me?”

“I did.”

“Who were you visiting?”

“I was with a group of friends and we were celebrating my friend Margo’s grandmother’s birthday. She’s German and we were at Oktoberfest. Do you know what that is?”

“I’m getting older by the minute. I guess we all are.”

Her comment wasn’t related to anything I’d just said, but it was (coincidentally?) in the ballpark of birthdays. “Well, yes. That’s true.”

“It’s getting harder to predict what’s going to happen in the next two minutes.”

It was such a randomly specific time frame I had to wonder if it wasn’t random. Maybe (now that she’s off her memory medication) that’s how often she feels her memory lasts until it resets? But then again, she actually remembered talking to me yesterday, so her memory’s still somewhat in tact.

She was in relatively good spirits, so I didn’t dare broach the subject of why I’d been calling so often. I just kept the chat light and loose and focused on things that didn’t take more than two minutes of memory.


October 4, 2019

“Is it Tuesday,” Maga asked.

“Nope. It’s Friday.”

“And here you are again.”

“Here I am.”

“Thank you for calling. I love hearing your sweet voice.”


After that sweet introduction, we spent a bunch of time on the weather. We both had lovely fall days today.

“I don’t like it when food comes on my TV,” Maga said. “Do you?”

“I love it.”


“Well, yes because it’s way better looking than anything that comes out of my kitchen.”

“Now they’re in the mud.”

“While they’re making food?!?” I said.

“I think it’s a car commercial.”


“There’s John Elway on the Broncos field. Is there a football team you cheer for?”

“The New England Patriots.” #TB12

“And what sports do you play?”

I went over the various sports (softball, squash) I play, going to the gym, and how I spend a lot of time walking around due to having no car.

“Do you play ping pong,” Maga asked.

I nearly spit out the sip of water I’d just taken. “No.”

“It’s a good sport that you can play indoors and play all the time. There are lots of indoor courts. It’s very good exercise and you to have to keep on your toes.”

“Did you ever play??!?”

“Oh yes. I liked it very much. It was pretty good exercise.”

“I knew you played tennis, but ping pong? Really? Did you play at Wellesley?”

“Oh yes. I did. I loved playing. It was very good exercise. Do you play?”

“No. Where would I play?”

“I guess if you don’t have a table nearby, it isn’t as easy to handle.”

“Well said,” I said. “What other sports did you play?”

“Tennis. Golf. I didn’t ever like it as much as I like tennis. Tennis is my favorite. It’s much easier to play. And ping pong. Do you play?”

Suddenly, I feel like I’m in the middle of a ping pong commercial. And yet, I’m completely fine with it because Maga sounds so much better tonight. If this is what it takes, bring it on, Big Ping Pong.