Archive for December, 2019


December 10, 2019

“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby.”


“Hi, Maga!”

“Who is it, please?”

“It’s Abby,” I shouted into the phone with a sinking feeling it was going to be one of those conversations. I put on a kettle of water so I could soothe my throat post phone call and settled in. “How was your day?!” I continued at the same excessive volume.

“A cold, busy day.”

“For me too. Busy.”

“What did you do?”

“I went to work and it. was. hectic!!”

“And then what?”

“That was the majority of the day. Now I’m home relaxing.”

“You went where?”

“I’m at home.”

“What was the majority?”

“At work. Now I’m done with that. What are YOU doing?” I asked in an attempt to turn the tide of this conversation.

“I’m putting photos in an album.”

“Oh, what fun! Who’s in the photos?”


“What are your pictures of?” I said slowly and as clearly as possible.

“Where were they taken?” Maga asked.


“These are from Alaska. Uncle D and Aunt C just went there you know.”

“I didn’t know. Those must be beautiful photos! What else is in the album?”

“Things from this year. I like to keep up to date with my albums.”

“I bet you do. So, what else do you have?”

“Things from this year.”

“Any from Africa?”

“Oh sure. I see S and F here.”

(Reader, S and F were not in Africa. I decided to go with the flow instead.) “How lovely. They’re so nice to visit with you.”

“Oh dear.”

“What’s up?”

“I’m so confused.”

“By your photographs?”


“Do you need to concentrate on them?”


“Would you like me to hang up?”


And just like that, she turned off the faucet entirely. (The water metaphor. I’m sticking with it.)

Don’t ever confuse my grandmother with someone who doesn’t know what she wants. Seems that she’d rather spend time with photos of people than on the phone, but you know what, if it makes her happy, I’m going to let her be. She’s earned that much in 98 years and 8 months.


December 2, 2019

“Hello?” Maga said. “Who’s this?”

“It’s Abby.”


“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby.”

“Can you hear me?”

“Yes! Hi! It’s Abby?”

I could hear the scuffling noises of Maga’s caregiver and Maga narrated the scene, “My caregiver’s putting my hearing aid in…Is it in? Can I talk?”

“Hi Maga. Can you hear me now?”

This went on for longer than anticipated. And nearly negated my reason for calling tonight instead of the usual Tuesday.

“Is it Tuesday?” Maga asked.

“No. It’s Monday, but I’m coming down with a cold and I’m not sure how my voice will be tomorrow.”


“A cold. I’m getting sick. I’m not feeling well.”

“Oh no!” she said. “That’s the pits. Are you home now?”

“Yes. How was your Thanksgiving?”

“It was alright. I didn’t see my visitors that long, but it was alright. Where were you?”

“I was at [Sister J’s].”

“All her kids came home, then.”

“Uh.” Seeing as they’re 9, 7, and 4, they didn’t have far to go to get home…clearly Maga’s memory and hearing weren’t top notch today, but the idea of [Sister J’s] kids having to come home for the holidays nearly blew my own mind apart. It’s like we were talking in the present about the future. “Yeah, sure.”

“They were working together to get food on the table?”

“Uh. Yeah, sure.”


“Actually, the girls did help [Sister E] with the pies.”

I asked Maga some other question that she couldn’t hear and that my poor voice couldn’t handle. At this rate, I’m going to give myself laryngitis just by having this conversation at such a decibel. She made some vague noise signaling she had no idea what I said. She took the conversation reigns back.

“You’re going to [Sister J’s] for Christmas?”

“No. My parents’ house.”


“My parents’.”

“Who’s that?”


“Oh, your mom and dad.”


“Where do they live?”


“What town?”

I said it 4 times to a response of “what?” each time. I didn’t know how else to say it and my voice was reaching a tone only dogs could hear… “It’s the same town they’ve lived in for 25 years.”

“Oh. I guess I didn’t know that. Well, what did you do today?”

“I went to work and shoveled some snow and…”


“To work.”


“To work. To my job. To the office.”

“Oh, your job. It’s Monday. Of course that’s where you were.”

Our usual chemistry was marred by my impending illness and her hearing and I believe the conversation was as frustrating for her as it was for me, and so she took advantage of “the changing of the guard” as an opportunity to end the conversation with me.

I was equal parts offended and impressed. She still has some social decorum in there although the reasoning for needing it is way more obvious than in her heyday. Either way, I’ll take any lesson I can get from her. Tonight’s being that an illness ridden 38yo voice isn’t compatible with a 98yo’s hearing.

Here’s hoping for a more uplifting lesson next week.