April 25, 2017

“Did you see pictures of the newest baby?” Maga said.

“I saw one picture. He’s so cute!”

“I saw some on Aunt J’s phone, but I don’t have any pictures yet in my possession. I think they’ll get me some soon. How many grandchildren do I have?”

“12 grands and now 9 great-grands.”

“And I was an only child!”

“You’ve done good.”

“And there are still people who haven’t produced any.”

I couldn’t duck fast enough. Her barbed comment was a direct hit. “Uh, yeah. You’re talking to one!”

“I might still get more.”

(Sheesh, Maga. Laying it on thick. She has a great-grandbaby that’s barely one week old and already wants more…and I’ve also begun to think she doesn’t need me here to complete this conversation.)

“Have you talked to C lately?” I said. (Yes, yes, it was a desperate attempt to change the subject.)

“Not in some time, no. How many grandkids does she have?”

(And my attempt crashed and burned.)

“She’s got 5,” I said.

“I envy her with all those grandkids so close by. I have more but they’re all so far away.”

I could barely hear her from underneath the rubble of guilt that was piling on top of me. Fortunately, the TV distracted her.

“Oh, it’s [45]. He’s turned out to be different than people thought.”

“Actually, I think he’s exactly how people expected, which is terrifying.”

“I do not like him. Do you?”

“I feel the same as you. Ick.”

“I guess it’s in the bloodstream.”

I loved how she phrased that, but honestly, I’d rather be talking about the kids I haven’t yet produced. But never fear, Maga took control and steered the conversation back to her favorite topic. (Surprisingly, not the weather. Or my phone number.)

“I’ll have to think of some reason to have you all come visit me. Not a funeral though. That would be terrible. I’ll have to keep going. As long as we have our weekly chats, I can keep doing that.”

I feel the same, Maga. Must be in the bloodstream.


April 18, 2017

“Maybe I should call you back?” Maga said.

“No,” I said, climbing out of the Lyft. “I’m on my cell phone. We can talk always.” The driver laughed as I waved goodbye and mouthed “thank you.”

“Oh, are you on that phone?”

“Yes,” I said, then explained about the wonders of the 21st century technology and also of 21st century bachelorette parties.

“Is your bachelorette affair in Salt Lake City?”

“Las Vegas.”

“Oh,” Maga said. “I knew it had an L in the name.”

And now I knew that my keen sense of geography came directly from my grandmother.

“Did you have bachelorette parties in your day?”

“Oh, no. I got married quite a long time ago, you know.”

“Did you have a registry back then?”

“Where you picked out things you liked and wanted? Yes. I had that. I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you first called. It’s such a nice day here, we went for a walk around the block.”

“I’m glad to hear about you getting out of the house.”

“I’m not just going to sit around a house forever. I’ve got to get out.”

And now I knew where my travel bug gene came from.


April 11, 2017

Having spent 6+ hours together on Sunday, there wasn’t much news to report this week, but it was just as grand hearing her voice and words.

“We need a little rain so the flowers will grow and everything will be nice.”

Maga meant it literally, but I heard it metaphorically. Sometimes you have to get soaked so you can appreciate the beauty of nature (life) that surrounds you.

“Get out your boots and raincoat,” she said a little later.

She meant it literally, and I took it as such. Sometimes it’s best to face the weather (life) with all your armor on.


April 4, 2017

Maga said, “You get in late Friday. Don’t call me then.”

“You have to be to work early Saturday. Don’t call me then either.”

“You’ll have my car, right? I’d appreciate it if you didn’t run into anything.”

“I’ll see you Sunday but call me sometime Saturday so I know you’ve made it Denver.”

It was a call filled with logistics and demands and maybe some eye rolls from me, but it was also a call borne of the fact we saw each other recently and will see each other again soon and sometimes all those little inconsequential moments add up to one big love. 


March 28, 2017

“I had such a wonderful, wonderful time with all of my family here for my big birthday,” Maga said.

“Me too! I’m so lucky I was able to make it out to see you.”

“It gets lonely here, you know. When you have a husband and four children and it’s busy and wonderful and then they’re all moved away or gone. It’s lonely.”

My heart broke. “I get to see you again in two weekends!” I said in a rush to combat the dark shadow of loneliness. It’s a thing I understand all too well. And something I continually hope to reduce with my regular phone calls.

“You do?”

“Yes, I have a work thing. It’s a very short trip, but I’ll definitely have time to see you.”

“How wonderful! What time do you get in?”

“Very very late on Friday.”

“Oh, don’t call me then. Call me Saturday morning. Oh, but you have to work. We can talk on Sunday then. Or before that. We’ll handle it…the way it should be done.”

“We will.” After going over the details 3x prior to this, her sudden retention of detail + demands + willingness to let the details sort themselves out caught me off guard. In a good way.

“I get confused,” she said.

“About what?” I said, confused.


“You seem to be understanding it all okay right now.” Which was the truth. She’d been very engaged in the conversation up to this point.

“Yes, I mean, I’m okay mostly but sometimes I get confused. It happens at 96. I just wish we could do my birthday weekend all over again. Well, you and I will soon.”

And we will. We’ll turn our Tuesday night phone calls into more weekend time together hoarding sunshine and memories to help with any future bouts of loneliness.