July 15, 2019

Maga dropped two pearls of wisdom tonight:

“Be patient and wait for something good to happen.”

“Let’s speak up and get it straightened out.” + “If we speak up together, maybe they’ll be more accommodating.”

The first was in relation to work, but it could be a lens to look at my (lack of) dating life. The second was regarding the details of my father’s family tree, but I’m choosing to hear it as us women need to stick together and raise our voices to get the equality we, and those who come after us, deserve.

Sometimes it’s not the little things, but the big things she says that I can file away. And sometimes it’s not the big moments, but all the little ones we spend “together” that add up to a big story.



July 8, 2019

“It’s terrible when you pick up a bug when traveling,” Maga said. “When you’re out and about and meeting people.”

“I actually feel mostly fine now. I just sound terrible.”

“You sound okay on the phone.”

“That’s probably because my voice is deeper and you can hear this register more easily than my normal voice.”

“I suppose that’s true.”

“Hey, did you watch any of the women’s world cup final?”

“Is that soccer?”

“Yes. I’m guessing you didn’t watch it?”

“When is it?”

“It was Sunday.”

“This Sunday or it already happened Sunday?”

“It was yesterday.”

“Who played?”

“The whole world.”

“Who won?”

“THE US!!!” My voice broke and scratched and lost all noise.

“What an athletic world we live in.”

“Oh, hey, Wimbledon started. Have you watched any of that?”

“It’s on now?”

“Well, not right now.”

“What TV station is on?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t have the TV on. And it’s not on right now. It’s super late night there.”

“Oh, yes. When we’re in bed sleeping, they’ll start playing again.”

“You got it.”

We transferred to upcoming travel plans, some of which involve seeing her. The details were explained and spelled out, as her memory became less crisp.

“Is Abby coming?” Maga asked.

*pause* “I’m Abby.”

*pause* “Oh, why yes you are. I’m a bit addled this evening.”

“It happens. It’s nothing to be worried about.”

“I meant is [Sister E] coming too?”

“She is.”

“I’m so lucky you’ll be here. I’ve been here such a long time.”

“That you have.”

“Let’s see. Jobo got the job in two thousand fifteen.”

“Umm, that was four years ago…” Laughter started to fizzle.

Maga chuckled nervously. “Maybe it was one thousand fifteen?”

And then it bubbled over (albeit silently due to this weird bout of laryngitis), but apparently Maga could hear it because she let loose her own peal of laughter. “Oh dear I am all foozledee and mixed up this evening.”

“That’s how I always feel when attempting math. Let’s just agree that you’ve lived there for a wonderful lifetime.”

Sometimes math carries all the answers and weight, but sometimes words do it instead.


July 2, 2019

We covered the usual topics: weather, work, my current location, travel, etc when the volume of the TV led me down a different path.

“Have you watched any of the women’s soccer?”


“The Women’s World Cup. They had the first semi-final today. The US won!”

“Is it an international game?”


“Where is it being played?”


“[Aunt J] and [Uncle P] are going to France next week. [Aunt J] told me yesterday.”

“To see family?”

“Yes. I think he gets lonely and misses his family.”

“I think you’re probably right. We all know what it’s like to miss family!”

“Have you seen any of your family members recently?”

I repeated my tales of my most recent trip, which involved all of my nieces and nephews.

“They’re all growing up sooner or later,” Maga said. “You can’t prevent it.”

Ain’t that the truth.

“I’ll be seeing some of your family members soon.”

“And me too,” I reminded her.

“Oh, you’re coming as well??”

“I am.”

“It’s been a long time since I saw you.”

I counted the months since her birthday. “Four months. It’s a long time and it’s also not.”

“You came for my birthday?”

“Yup. Fifth year in a row.”

“It’s been too long since I’ve seen you.”

Maga was right about that. Long days, short months. It expands when you’re younger and shrinks when you’re older. Time is weird. But fortunately, a couple of weeks should pass by quickly so we’ll be in the same time zone before we know it.


June 25, 2019

“What did you do today?” Maga asked.

“I went to work and then got my hair cut.”

“Ever get your hair set?”

“No. I just had it washed, cut, dried.”


“What does ‘getting your hair set’ mean?”

“They wash it with soap and water, rinse it well, and take the curlers, wrap it up. I sit under the dryer for 45 minutes getting it dry and that’s the sum total of it.”

“How often does this happen?”

“Once a week so it’s kept looking fresh.”

“Sounds lovely.”

“There’s John Elway,” Maga said. “Are you watching TV?”

“Nope. I’m talking to you.”

“Well, I’m talking to you and watching TV too.”

“I guess you’re better at multitasking than me,” I said.

“What a ball player he was. He played for the Broncos. Do you know him?”

“I know of him, yes. Did you ever see him play?”

“Oh, yes,” she said and detailed the season tickets she and Jobo had. “I don’t do that anymore because I don’t have a male escort to take me.”

I semi-unsuccessfully bit back my laughter. “Why do you need a male escort?”

“It just helps when you’re crossing streets and trying to find your seat.”

“If you say so.”

“It’s also not for older people. At least not at my age.”

“Now that’s what I thought you were going to say before!”

“What’s that? Oh, there’s John Elway. What a ball player.”

Her unwillingness to commit fully to either this conversation or the TV was driving this away from football and more towards race car territory (aka around and around and around a track we go).

“Do you play any summer sports?” Maga asked.

I detailed my work softball team.

“Do you still do that Tuesday night game night?”

I detailed why not.

“Do you have any upcoming travel?”

I detailed my travel itinerary. “Oh, hey, I sent you a postcard from Nantucket. Did you get it yet?”

“No. When did you send it?”

“Saturday. No, Friday.”

“I haven’t gotten it yet. Maybe I’ll check my mailbox when I go out for a walk in a bit. It might be there today.”

“I know how much you love mail.”

“I really do.”

“Mail is super fun. I bet you get a lot.”

“Not as much as you must with all your friends all over the place.”

“No,” I chuckled. “People don’t really send postcards anymore. It’s more phone calls and text messages.”

“Do you and your trivia friends send each other postcards?”


“Didn’t you just tell me you did that?”

“No.” I traced back over the explanations as I reentered the ring the racetrack.


June 18, 2019

“What are those squeaky noises I’m hearing?” Maga asked.

“My front door. I’m just getting home.”

“Where were you?”

“Softball game.”

“Oh, that’s why you didn’t call. I called you today because it’s Tuesday or Wednesday and I was talking to your mom and she asked if you called and I said no not yet and so I called you.”

“Yes, I got your voicemail. I’m sorry I couldn’t talk until now. I was at softball.”

“How’d the game go?”

“We lost by a lot.”

“What was the score?”


Maga burst into laughter. “Oh my. I didn’t realize that could go so high.”

“Oh, yes. Yes, it can go as high as time allows.”

“It’s Tuesday, right?” Maga asked.


“And that’s why I called because you hadn’t called yet. What were you doing?”

“I was at a work softball game.”

“What position do you play?”


“How did your team do tonight?”

“We lost. Big time.”

“Some days are like that.”

You know what? She’s right. There are some days you can’t win no matter how hard you try. Sometimes the best you can do is show up. Her pointed comment + her laughter were accurate and, yet, barbed, and so I happily answered her next questions (about upcoming travel) in excess detail just to keep the subject off the horrific softball score.

“You don’t sit around and twiddle your thumbs do you?” Maga said.

“Not these next two weeks, but yes, actually I do. Quite often. Sometimes it’s good to be quiet.”

“I guess you have a point.”

“I try to.”

“What day is today?”


“Oh, yes, I thought so. And then I knew we had to talk cause that was important.”

Her aim may have been off-kilter tonight, but her wisdom kept hitting its target.