The smallest things are graces. The cup of tea just released from my hand. The candle I just lit. The poems I am editing for my first chapbook. My housemates have gone to bed as is their habit and I am staying up as is mine. The house is(more) silent after an evening of conversation, some of it raucous. Poetry SLAM is on Tuesday and I've finally picked my poem. I have a few friends there and I'm still incredibly intimidated by the stage but I don't shake quite as much. My writer's group met today. I'm staring at a small statue of Quentin Tarantino as Elvis an artist left at the house a few years ago."Love me tender. Love me sweet." I'm chock-full of graces and it's time to go back to work.(less)
My grandmother was named Grace. But we all knew her as Mum Mum. It never occured to me that she was my grandma, I had (and still do have) one of those too. Something about the sagging cheeks, the paper skin, the ponderous humming, the way she governed our family with benevolence(more) and the matching sweater and sweatpants made Mum Mum fit her perfectly.
When I was in kindergarten she would pick me up from school everyday while my mother was working. Sometimes, she would take me to Nathan's and I'd always order two hot dogs and cheese fries. Afterwards we'd hit the arcade.
Well, I would hit the arcade; Armed with a few dollars in coins provided by the gentle matriarch I would go into berseker mode. I ran around like a crack head shooting zombies, playing skee ball, crashing cars and engaging in the martial arts. Never once did she play with me, but never once did I ask her. She always stood there quietly in the background, holding my jacket, obviously uncomfortable in the boisterous environment.
Mum Mum died when she was 92 years old. She had fallen some years before and never really recovered. I spent a lot of time with her in the hospital then. The poor thing had a neck brace on and was begging for water. All we could do was soak a sponge in water and let her suck on it. I wanted to murder every doctor in that place.
Senility was a graceful acquisition for my grandmother. She often called me by one of my brothers' or my cousins' names but that had always been the way. In the end we could do little more than hold hands and look at each other, but her eyes said enough.
Is to grow old with grace having that Good Job, the one with the pension & the health insurance & paid vacation? A responsible, accomplished life? Or is to grow old with grace not growing old, still choosing whimsy, still chasing winding roads until your hair grows gray? Does(more) grace to the one always look like foolishness to the other?
Is there any grace in between? Am I stumbling in it or perpetually in its fringes, trying to grab it, only glimpsing.(less)