Remember Grandma’s quiet smile?
Her tuneless humming as she sorted her cards
Tapped her worn fingernails, her hands could take
Immersion in boiling water, as I recall.
She drank weak, luke-warm instant coffee, her glasses
Slid down her nose…Remember how
We rolled our eyes at her constant telling
Of the tea story? “Old GB McTavish said”
(Upon hearing I was under the weather)
“Give that child a good cup of tea, not too weak,
Golden coloured, with milk and sugar.”
A series of small strokes and the story was lost
But one day it resurfaced and
We grinned like lunatics, so happy
To hear the old lines, verbatim, one more time.
How about the Fibber McGhee drawer?
Rows of jams and jellies, pickles and garlic dills.
She loved her roses too, didn’t she?
And didn’t we love her with all our hearts?
I watched you perm her hair,
or colour then set it,
A hundred times or more. I watched her
Wander in the garden, picking raspberries,
Picking apples for pies made with Grandpa
Her partner of 60 years
Her devoted apple-peeler.
How lucky we were to have the pleasure
Of their company for as long as we did.
My childhood was saved by their kindness
And your fortitude. We all thrived together.
I’ve been too lucky, never missed a meal,
I slept in safe beds with fresh sheets under
Cool night air through open windows.
How lucky I am to have had you
Now our tea is perfect with blackberry
honey and vanilla chai soy. Let’s sit.
Consider the joy your sweet little dog brings us,
And my two canine characters,
tails waving, happy panting…
hopeful noses close to dinner plates.
Here we are… so fortunate for this time
We have together.