Sunday, August 15, 2010
"Jesus," Jane whispers, "please give me a patient heart." Pine trees and open meadows whiz past her window, "Every moment, patient." She stares, "Patient. Patient." A slash pile smolders gray smoke by the road, "Patient heart."
Sandwiched into our car we sail through Montana back country. Grampa smooths a list between thumb and finger. Garage sales. He mapped them out. One here, another there, or wait two roads back, did anyone see a sign stapled to the phone pole? Craig and Grampa parse out country roads, small town streets, unmarked dirt trails.
"We did NOT eat up all the gum," Jack frowns at Janie from the way back.
"Yes," she says, "We DID."
"NO. We DIDN'T."
I lean over the baby seat and raise both eyebrows, "Janie. Stop."
Up front, Grampa unfurls a map. Worn folds gape open like little eyes. He runs fingers over the roads.
"But Momma, he's WRONG," Janie says.
"I know. Be stronger."
"But Momma, he's being a bad boy."
"I know," I say, "Be. Stronger."
Grampa assembles the map back into folds, presses the creases, closes worn spots. "Take a left." We trundle over railroad tracks and onto a dirt road. Stronger. I look at Grampa. Gray hair almost white. These past five years Gramma gone and he still makes maps and hunts garage sales. Five years, one next step and another. Another. And another.
I lean over the baby seat, squeeze Jane's hand. The car silent, we sit, wait. Another bend in the road, and patience builds. Strength begins.
125. Grampa. 89 years almost and still as straight and honest as the day is long.
126. A long car drive, a late night, and Grampa still awake when we all pull in.
127. Cedar and soap, the smell in my clothes when we get home from Grampa's cabin. I don't unpack, close the suitcase and hope that in the morning I can smell it again.
128. Red geraniums. Grampa plants them every year the way that Gramma did. Me too.
129. Shallow mountain ditch that the kids float. My piles of memories of when I was a kid.
131. Garlic, onion, blue cheese burgers that husband barbecued.
132. Grilled squash and onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil.
133. Chocolate. Black chocolate.
135. How a kiss or a band-aid heals all Lulie's owies.
136. How Jane can make tennies, jean skirt, gray leggings, and a big red flower all seem to go.
137. How the kids try to give me their money after payday like tokens of love, then settle for buying bananas when I give the money back.
138. A soft bed I fall into at night.
139. A strong husband who guards me 'til morning.
140. The gift of a morning run.
141. Teaching our children (and me) to keep a tidy house.
142. Thirty little girl toes painted pretty.
143. The colors we picked. Lulie pink for the bottle was pretty. Janie blue for the color was pretty. Me red for the twinkle in husband's eye made me want it.
144. The slow moments where Jack repeats the same question seven times, and I let the afternoon ease by, nothing better to do than listen and repeat. Or laugh again.