“That must have been a very special time in Greece,” Maga said.

“Beyond. Special. Amazing. So so fun.”

“How’s your jet lag?”

“Not good, actually. I’m having a terrible time getting back to a normal schedule.”

“You’ve been home a week already?”

“Not quite. Not yet.”

“Oh, well these things take time. At least a week. At least they did in my experience.”

“What tricks did you use to get over it?”

“Oh, well, probably sleeping pills which would help me finish out the night.”

“There’s an idea.”

“Just know that good, normal times are ahead of you.”

“I’ll keep that in mind!”

“What time is it there?” Maga asked, “8pm?”

“No, 11pm.”

“What?!? Where are you?”

“East Coast.”

“Oh that’s right, of course. Oh, my goodness you should get to bed.”

“I’m already in it.”

“You are?! Now there’s a smart girl.”

With a brain functioning not even remotely on full capacity, I’ll take the compliment and wrap myself up in sweet dreams, too, while I’m at it.



“Excuse me.” Maga’s words were muffled by the food in her mouth. “I shouldn’t be eating this gooey thing while talking to you, but it’s so delicious.”

“What are you eating?”

“Something your mother sent me, I think.”


“No. Chocolate covered strawberries.”

“You do love your sweets.”

“I always have.”

Her obvious enjoyment outweighed the garbled words. Is this what things sound like to her when she doesn’t have her hearing aids in?

“I think your mother sent these.”

“She might have. She was just there.”

“Chocolate covered strawberries. Is this something she’d send?”

“It does sound like her, yes. It’s probably an early Valentine’s treat.”

“Did I send you a Valentine?”

“You did. I have it right here in my hands. I haven’t opened it yet. I’m saving it for tomorrow.”

“Don’t open it yet,” she said at the same time as me. “Save it for tomorrow.”

Looks like I inherited my sweet tooth and patience from her!



“How are things at the house?” Maga asked.

“Very busy, but in a good way.”

“What are the ages of [Sister J’s] kids again?”

“7.5, 5.5, and 2.5.”

“Oh my. That is busy indeed. My kids were a bit more spaced out.”

“What are the age ranges?”

“C and J are 3 years apart. J and D are 3.5 years apart. And D and T are 4.5 years apart, so it wasn’t too crowded all at once.”

“Both sets have their advantages. And how was your Christmas?”

“It was okay. J and P came by for lunch. The food wasn’t anything special. And the day before S and F took me out to dinner.”

“S is Aunt J’s friend, right?”

“Yes. They are one day apart.”


“Yes. Fairly early on, I saw S’s mother and I said to her, ‘You look like I feel’ and she admitted she was pregnant.”

As I pondered the ways women shared pregnancy news sans social media, Maga continued her story. “She went into the hospital and when I went the next day, I ran into her room and said, “I’m here. Let’s see what happens.”

What happened was a lifetime of friendship between mothers and daughters. So much so that they are still spending holidays together. It’s a lovely blurry line between family and friends.



“Are you on your [family trip]?” Maga asked. 

“Yup. All 14 of us are in one house!”

“Wow. How did we get such a big family?”

“You and Jobo started it off right.”

“I suppose we did. I am jealous of you all there together but I guess my traveling days are done.”

“You sure made good use of them when you were able to travel.”

“What’s the weather like there?”

“Scorching hot and one million percent humidity.”

“The beach is good then?”

“Perfect,” I said. “What have you been up to lately?”

“I’m watching Wimbeldon. There’s a TV in a main room so we went down there to watch a match.”

“I love Wimbledon! Did you see the marathon match that Nadal lost?”

“It was on more than yesterday?”

“Oh, yes. It’s at least a week. There are many rounds.”

“Have you been watching?”

“Normally yes but this year I’ve just been reading articles. Did you and Jobo ever make it there during your travel years?”

“You know, we didn’t. It’s one of the few places we didn’t get to go and I would have loved it. It’s so interesting watching all those professional players and seeing what they’re capable of. Or not.”

My mind immediately traveled to the daily beach/pool games + nightly board/card games and thought that amateurs playing games is pretty fun to experience too. 



“Wait one second, Abby dear. It’s the changing of the guard.”

I always try to call after that happens, but her beloved caregiver M stayed a little later today, so I eavesdropped while they said goodbye with tenderness. When Maga got back on the phone, she was all business. “What did you do for your birthday?”

“Oh, well, some friends came down to visit and we battled the snow on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, I invited some friends over and we did brunch. I learned I don’t have enough plates.”

“Oh no! What did you do?”

“Two of my friends are married, so they shared a plate and then the rest of us worked in shifts. The early arrivers ate first and then we washed the plates for the later arrivals. Next time, paper plates.”

Maga let out a peal of laughter at my hosting ineptitude.

“Did you host a lot of parties?” I asked.

“Not really. More often than not, we’d take friends out to the country club. It was easier all around.”

“True. But what about when your kids were growing up. How about then?”

“When my kids were growing up? That was a long time ago! But yes, I guess we did. For special occasions and things like that. Neighbors and friends we’d invite over. Do you have any business trips planned?”

“You know what? I don’t. After all that travel this summer/fall, I don’t have anything definite yet. I do not like that.”

“Do you take pictures?”

“With my phone.”

“Oh, so you don’t have any photo albums?”

“Nope. The last album I have is one my mom made for me.”

“Your mom is very good at that. She’s put some together for me and I have them here in this funny little place. She’s also good at postcards. I’m very fond of your mother. You can tell anyone.”

“I’ll make sure to.”

“Don’t you have a lot of winter birthdays in your family?”

“Especially in January.” I listed off my siblings’ birthdays ending with Brother G’s, whose was today.

“Oh, yes,” Maga said. “I talked to him last night. His family is doing well.”

“A stomach bug took them down, but yes, they’ve recovered and are doing quite well now.”

“He didn’t mention anything of that sort to me. I guess one doesn’t really talk about unfortunate things like that. But you and I can talk about it privately.”

I let out a peal of laughter at being able to override her manners and decorum.

Like grandmother, like granddaughter, I suppose.