May 13, 2019

“Do you have any trips coming up?” Maga asked.

I detailed some of my upcoming trips (over and over).

“It’s quite a time for travel,” Maga said. “People move around a lot and you go see each other hither and yon.”

It took a minute to contain my laughter, but once I did, I focused the conversation on my upcoming family related trip because she’d know all the names and faces and I hoped she’d be able to grasp the conversation more easily than she had been.

“I’ll be staying with [Sister J] and will able to see [Brother G] and his family, as they’ll be on the East Coast looking at colleges for [Niece M].”

“It’s a good idea to look the scene over before deciding.”

“You got it, Maga!” I’d gotten her attention and figured I’d push it. “How did you decide to go to Wellesley?”

“Well, I knew I wanted to go to a women’s college, so I looked around at some of those. I don’t know…” She trailed off. I waited for her to pick up the thread. “You know I don’t know how I decided on it, but I’m so glad I did. It’s so beautiful. Have you ever been there?”

“I have, actually, and I agree with you. It’s a lovely campus.”

“There’s a lake there in the middle of everything. It’s so attractive and adds a lot of the campus.”

“It does. My college had a lake at one of the entrances and it was such a welcoming site.”

“What year did you graduate?”

“1999. Woah, that was…20 years ago?  What? No, no, no, wait. That was high school. 2003. That’s when I graduated.”

“That’s still quite a long time ago.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“Time sure does fly. It does not sit still for long.”

As a 98yo, I suspect she knows a thing or two about time and its passage.



May 7, 2019

“How are you?” I asked.

“Feeling lonely,” Maga said. “My relatives all live so far away.”

“But, here I am!”

“Yes. Thank goodness for the telephone. Have you seen any family lately?”

“Well, I’m here with my mom and dad.”

“You are? Why’s that?”

I went on to explain about the work conference that brought me to my parents’ town.

“So, you’re going to seminars to catch up on the very latest,” she said.

“Maga! Well done!” I exclaimed. Her zippy summary of my work trip blew me away, especially since the vast majority of my explanation involved details about computer software, something she doesn’t often understand.

“It must be nice to get away. Change the scene.”

“You have no idea.”

“You’re a good worker,” she said, apropos of nothing we were talking about. “No doubt about that. You’ve always been a dependable person. I like that in my relatives.”

Relatives. Bosses. I guess my resume’s the same for both. At least, it is this week with this work trip intersecting with a visit to family. But no matter what, here’s dependable me making my Tuesday night call to my best Tuesday night lady.


April 30, 2019

There were phone calls answered and dropped and initiated and answered. Once we connected…names of newborns and ancient beings were discussed. Similarities abounded. Numbers of great-grandchildren were counted. I was anointed…”Oh gosh, you’re a better adder than I am.” I happily accepted that label. Home improvements were discussed. “I painted a few things but it wasn’t my favorite thing to do. What was? I dunno, but gosh, not painting.” Weather patterns were unraveled. “It’s almost summer. The rain will stop soon.”

My headphones kept cutting in and out. The volume of her TV drowned out our (stilted) conversation. I moved between outdoors and indoors. We were speaking different languages despite using the same words. Tradition kept us close even when technology conspired against us.

“I’m glad I was able to receive your call,” Maga said. No matter the shape, Tuesday nights configure themselves around us and despite the “hardships” that got us to this point, I agreed. We were together. That was enough.

*All quotes were by Maga, 98yo.


April 23, 2019

“How’s the weather today?” Maga asked.

“It was quite chilly today.”

“How unusual.”

“Actually, unfortunately, it’s not.”

“What do you mean?”

“April is more of a winter month than a spring month.”

“That’s too bad,” she paused, “What are you doing? It sounds like you’re throwing things around.”

“Oh, sorry. I’m making my lunch for tomorrow. I’m multitasking. I didn’t realize it was making that much noise.”

“Well, it’s always good to use your time as much as possible.”

I’d never felt so guilty before for not procrastinating, but I tried to make the rest of my lunch preparations as quiet as possible while we un-ironically talked about how neither of us had much news to share.

“I’m sorry I don’t have anything exciting to report,” I said. “It’s been pretty quiet here.”

“That’s okay. Quiet is better than too much.”

For tonight, it was, especially since I was sporting a tickly, prickly beginning of a cold sore throat and speaking for long stretches wasn’t fun. But even without much to say, the quiet was better together.


April 16, 2019

“I figured when I didn’t hear from you last week that you were off somewhere,” Maga said.

“I was! I thought my phone would work, so I didn’t warn you. But then I tried to call you and…nothing…”

“I thought you had one of those phones that worked everywhere.”

“Yeah, me too. But since it didn’t work, I wrote you a postcard instead. You should be getting it soon.”

“Thank you! I’ll look forward to that. How was the weather there?”

“Perfect. Sunny. Warm. Lovely.”

“The Caribbean general has pretty good weather.”

“You can say that again.”

“Did you do much swimming?”

“Actually, yes. About half of the days. I’ve never seen water so clear before.”

“How nice.”

“Did you like swimming?” Her pause confused me. I wasn’t sure if she couldn’t hear me or was deep in thought. “You know, when you were younger?”

“Oh, yes. I loved going to the beach, bouncing around in the waves.”

“Did you take many family trips to the beach?”

“Yes. They were special. When you have young children you don’t like to go off and leave them especially, so you take them with you.”

It was my turn to get lost in thought, as I was busy imaging Maga “bouncing in the waves” and my mom on the beach. My mom, who is always doing something, going somewhere, planning something…and who doesn’t enjoy lounging around on the sand.

“Did you get a suntan?” Maga’s voice broke into my reverie.

“No! But then again, I didn’t want one.”

“I suppose it is a weird time of year for a tan.”

“Well that and the sun is dangerous. I didn’t want to expose my skin.”

“Yes, those ultraviolet rays can be trouble.”

“You can say that again.”

“It’s fun that you had a little winter vacation. April is often cold and rainy.”

It’s true. April often has a bit of an identity crisis (is it a winter or spring month?) and so this trip, this break from my real life was oh so needed and the fact that tonight we covered variations of these topics more often than I reapplied sunscreen last week, didn’t bother me as it’s nothing but a joy to journey back to the sun drenched days I spent in St. Maarten.