“Hi, Maga! It’s Abby,” I said, taking the phone from my mom’s hand as we started a steep uphill ascent on the neighborhood walk.


“Yes! Hi!”

“What are you doing?”

“Well, we’re on a walk around the neighborhood.”


“Oh, wow! There’s a huge tree down up ahead.” (Thank you, Tropical Storm Isaias.)

“What’s that?” Maga said.

“The wind knocked down some branches and one is covering nearly half the street.”

“Oh. I thought you said three.”

“Well,” I looked at my companions (my mother and father), “there are three of us on this walk. The three amigos.”

“Like companions.”

“Or a movie.”

“There’s someone here,” Maga said. I could hear Caregiver M talking and then Maga dropped the phone to her lap. After a brief rustling, Maga’s voice came back and we reached the top of the hill, only to have another hill to climb, so I maintained control of the phone.

“Like a nurse?”

“No.” And then she began to recite some words about hair salons and how the governor hadn’t yet made a decision on how they could open safely. “Want to make your voice heard? Call the [state] department of health at 303.692.2000. Let’s make some noise.”

Mom and I looked at each other. “Is that a commercial?” I asked.

“A flyer?” Mom asked.

Maga recited it all over again.

“You don’t need to go to the salon,” Mom said. “Caregiver M does your hair beautifully.”

“I haven’t had my hair done,” Maga said. (Maybe it wasn’t done it a salon, but reader, she had. That morning. We’d seen gorgeous pictorial evidence. There isn’t much Caregiver M can’t do.)

“I haven’t had my hair cut since February,” I said.

“Do you remember when you used to perm my hair?” Mom said to Maga. “I was 5.”

“No, I don’t remember that,” Maga said.

“Tell me more,” I said.

“My bangs became about 1/2″ long!” Mom could barely get up the hill, speak, and laugh at the same time. Ditto for me. Maga chuckled reluctantly. Dad was about 50 yards behind us at this point, more interested in how many tree branches fell than hair styles and salons.

Maga found the flyer in her lap and recited it all over again, which gave us time to catch our collective breath. As she started reading it for the fourth time, I chimed in word for word.

“What should I say?” Maga said.

“You could tell them you’d like the salon in your care center opened.”

“What number should I call?”

“303,” Mom and I started at the same time.

“Hold on!” Maga said. “Let me get a pen.”

We waited and we walked. Maga got the number and some advice on what to say and who she was to call. “Where is it?” she asked.

“Downtown,” Mom said.

“I’m not going to go there,” Maga said, crunching on something.

“Are you eating something?” I asked.

“Popcorn,” Maga said.

“They dropped off the flyer and some popcorn,” Caregiver M said.

Having a bucket of popcorn at this point in the conversation seemed awfully apropos.

“So the number is 303.692.2000,” Maga said. “And it’s where?”

“Downtown,” Mom repeated.

“I’m not going there!” Maga repeated.

“No, no. You’re to ask about the hair salon at [Care Center],” Mom said.

“A hair storm?” Maga said.

It seemed we’d come full circle literally, figuratively, conversationally.



“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby.”

“Oh, Abby darling. It’s so good to hear your voice.”


“What did you do today.”

“I went to the movies.”


“The m-o-v-i-e-s.”

“The what?”

“The theater.”

“Oh! What was the production?”

“Little Women.”

“Little what?”

“Women. Females. By Louisa May Alcott.”

“Oh, yes. I know it. Was it a good play?”

“I really enjoyed the movie, yes.”

“Oh, it was a film?!”


“Did you go to work today?”

“Nope. I had the day off.”

“Oh, that’s how you were able to go to the movies today because you weren’t at work.”


“When are you coming to see me?”

“In March. For your birthday.”

“What day, please.”

“Sometime around your birthday. I don’t have the exact date yet.”

“My birthday is March 25th.”

“Yes! I know.”

“It’ll be fun. We’ll go to Cherry Hills and do some shopping and it’ll be good and all that.”

“I can’t wait to see you!”

“How much is it?” Maga asked.

Now it was my turn to ask for clarification. “Huh?”

“Until you come to see me.”

“It’s a couple of months away, unfortunately.”

“Well, if you can come any earlier, you’re always welcome.”

“Thank you! I hope to be able to visit sooner.”

We closed out the conversation with some repetitions of the word decade. It’s a big word and my voice is small, but working together, I was able to get the point across and we each wished each other a very happy new year!



“My caregiver asked me if I’d heard from you,” Maga said.

“And here I am.”

“Are you doing anything fun?”

“I’m in Virginia.”

“You’re down at the beginning?”

I never expected to have her confused by the state that shares her name, but this blog isn’t called “my mumbling stuff” for no reason…

We then covered which family members we each were getting to see for Thanksgiving, grateful our words were audible and our livings rooms full.



“Are there lots of exhibits there?” Maga asked.

“Oh, yes. Tons.”

“I’ve only been to Disneyland.”

“That came after Disney World.”

“Are you sure? I thought Disneyland was first.”

“I’m pretty sure World was first.”

We’d had this conversation or a version of it three times and I was about to google it when Sister E piped up that Land was first. Maga was right. I was wrong.

That’s what happens when you’re sharing a hotel room with three other people. They can hear your conversation without even trying. Unlike Maga who, again, didn’t have her hearing aids in and required a five minute explanation/repetition of the title of the movie Toy Story (best part of the park(s) so far!)

“Have you been to Disneyland,” Maga asked.


“I think the CA one came before the FLA one…”

What also happens is that Maga keeps needling a topic until you’ve actually agreed with her, agreed with her just to be able to change the topic, or found the true answer. Now if that isn’t making proper use of Disney Magic, you can take away my Mickey ears.



“How many are you?” Maga asked.


“Now that’s a big happy group.”

“It is indeed.”

“The holidays are a good time for families to get together.”

“That they are. And what did Santa bring you?”

“Presents, candy, perfume, the usual.”

I knew my parents had given her an unusual technological gift, and so, yes, I was fishing for information because we hadn’t had a proper chance to talk the day before. Maga’s omission of that gift spoke volumes and yet was 100% not surprising given her age and disinterest in all things technology. Plus, I’d seen her reaction and confusion to it the day before / the way her 10yo great-grandson explained it with ease.

I reeled in the hard questions and allowed her to direct the conversation back to the weather and how many family members I was surrounded by.

“I wish you luck and success,” Maga said as we wrapped up the conversation with talk of the new year.

“I wish you love and good health,” I replied.