“I just got back from the dining room,” Maga said with an unusually chipper voice.

“Oh, wow! That’s super exciting,” I said.

“Not really. The food isn’t as good and there weren’t too many people. It was kind of a let down.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. But wasn’t it exciting to eat outside of your room?”

“I guess.”

“Did you wear lipstick to the dining room?”

“Oh, sure,” she said. “At least I think I did. That would be silly if I thought I wore it and I didn’t.”

“I’m sure you wore it. You’re good about applying it.” She wears the most classic red color. It’s an amazing shade.

“Where do you work from?” Maga asked out of nowhere.

So it’s going to be one of those types of conversations. I buckled up. “Well, currently I work from my second bedroom.”

“Where’s that?” Maga asked.

“Off my kitchen.”

“How do you get work?”

“The computer.”

“I don’t understand how those things work. I don’t have anything like it.”

“Well, you do have wifi, so you could work from your apartment too.”

“I do? Are you sure?”


“I’ll have to investigate that. Do you see any friends?”

“Just a few. And only outside.”


“Some friends who live nearby.”

“Who? What are their names?”

“M and G and C.”

“C. That’s a nice name. Is she as nice as her name?”

“Yes, in fact, she is.”

“How long have you known her?”

“About 19 years.”

“Really? My goodness. And how do you know her?”

I detailed how we worked at the same summer camp for kids, which delighted Maga. She especially liked the part where the kids asked for any other counselor besides me to throw the football.

“Did you know I’m almost 100?” Maga continued on with her rapid fire questioning.

“I did.”

“I don’t know how I got here.”

“One day at a time.”

“Yes, I suppose so.”

“Maga! 100! IT’S SO COOL!”

“I don’t know if it’s cool or not, but it is the situation.”

Questions. Opinions. The weather. Friends. Work. A lot of repeated information. A lot of new information. This 45 minute conversation covered everything and I was here for it all.



“We just got in this minute,” Maga said in lieu of a greeting.

Jumping right in, I asked, “Where were you?”

“Sitting on the patio watching the cars go by.”

“People watching too?”

“People watching and car watching, yes.”

“That sounds fun. Fresh air is good for you.”

“It’s a nice day for it. What did you do today?”

“I worked and ran some errands and made dinner and that’s about it.”

“What errands?”

“I went to the library and to the grocery store.”

“You were very successful in that department.”

“Yes, I guess you could say that!” I said, feeling infinitely better about the lack of events on today’s schedule. Maga for the ego boost.

We then went over the details of my day a few more times + the area of the country I live in + the time difference between us.

“I have to go check…” Maga trailed off, searching for the word, phrase, excuse. “Well, I don’t know what I have to check for, but it’s something. Goodbye.”

Yikes. I knew my life was boring lately, but dang! I guess when you’re 99, you don’t need an excuse to leave nor do you need to waste any time, so you just hang up. And there went that ego boost…



“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby.”



“Oh, hi, Abby dear. It’s so nice to hear your voice.”

At that volume? Okay, sure. “And yours,” I said.

“I’m just laying down in the bed, closing my eyes, but I’m not tired. Just taking it easy.”

“That’s what I’m doing too. But I’m on the couch instead of my bed.”

Maga chuckled lightly.

“Did you do the crossword puzzle today?” I asked.

“No. I don’t think I did.”

“Oh, okay. I know sometimes you work on it with my mom.”

“Who’s that? [Aunt J]?”

“No, it’s [C].”

“Oh, right. Yes, we do work on that together, but I don’t think we did today. It’s very satisfying when you fill in the words.”

“I bet! I’m not very good at them.”

“Where do you live?” Maga asked.

“In [town], [state].”

“Where’s that near?”

“Your alma mater.”

“Do you ever get over there?”

“I’ve visited it a few times, yes.”

“I wish I lived closer to it. It’s so lovely there with the lake and the hills and so on. I’d visit frequently if I could.”

“When’s the last time you were there?”

She paused, trying to assess when it was.

“Maybe for a reunion?” I supplied.

“Yes, most likely. I was the class of ’42, so you can kind of figure out from there what I did at that time.”

If I was better at puzzles or internet research, I’d take her up on that invitation…alas, I settled for asking questions that unfortunately can’t be answered by her wispy memories.

“Did I call you or did you call me?” Maga asked.

“I called you.”

“Well, thank you for doing so. It’s very rewarding and refreshing and what else can I say to talk to you. You can call me anytime.”

“I love talking to you, so it’s my pleasure.”

“Is it Tuesday?”

“It is,” I said.

“We’re right on schedule, then.”



“Hi Abby, dear,” said Maga.

“Hi Maga!”

“How’s your weather today?”

“It was hot and summery.”

“We had snow.”


“Snow,” she said, low and slow as if I was hard of hearing.


“Yeah. That’s how I feel too. Wow.”

“Is this normal to have snow in September?”

“It’s not the common thing, but it does happen occasionally. It’s usually a temporary thing this early.”

“That’s crazy!”

“What did you do today?” Maga said.

“I worked on my computer and, well, that’s about it. A rather boring day.”

“Everything’s boring lately.”

“Well, yes, but it’s better to be bored and healthy than the alternative.”

Maga laughed for a lot longer than I expected her (or anyone, really) too. I wasn’t exactly making a joke, but dark humor is the way through this time, I guess. Who knew Maga had such a dark side?!

“What’s that noise,” Maga asked.

“Your microwave.”

“You know more than I do!”

“Naw. I just have younger ears than you do.”

“Well, that’s my dinner. I suppose I’d better go.”

“Okay. I hope you enjoy your dinner!”

“I don’t have much of an appetite, so I don’t know how I’ll be able to, but I’ll try.”

“That’s all I ask. Happy Tuesday, Maga!”

She may not have had a large appetite today, but at least she still had her sense of humor!



“Hi, Darling,” Maga said.


“Who is this, please?”

“It’s Abby.”

“Of course it’s you.”

“Yup! It’s Tuesday.”

“What did you do today?” and “Where are you?” and “How’s the weather?” peppered her conversation. I dutifully answered.

Maga asked, “When are you going to be down my way?”

“As soon as the planes are safe to travel on again.”

“Oh, that’s right. You’re a plane away. Well, we’ll have to wait our turn.”

“I’m tired of waiting!” I burst out.

“I’m tired of waiting too, but sometimes that’s the way it goes,” Maga consoled me. “I don’t really understand it all.”

“The long and short of it is that there are a lot of germs everywhere. We have to stay safe,” I consoled her.

“I guess.”

A few more of the same questions she’d already asked salted this portion of the conversation, and then, before I was even done folding my laundry, she ended the phone call.

I guess she was done waiting for me to have something interesting to say.