So every night my mama cooks dinner for she and daddy and takes a plate to my little Mammaw who lives 3 doors down. Whenever I’m at their house, I take the dinner so I can visit and eat supper with her. I know it must be so lonesome and I should come over even more than I do. I love every minute I get to spend with her, and she loves to remind me that there won’t be many more moments left to spend (then she laughs, as if it’s not the saddest thing I can imagine).
Tonight we had mama’s lasagna (my favorite meal since childhood), she showed me the new clothes my aunt Gay bought for her, and then as I was walking off the front porch to the car she said, “Do you want to sit a while with me?” She has these white rocking chairs on the front porch and mountains of antique tea roses and four o’clocks in pink and purple and yellow that surround and smother it. The smell is sort of like syrup, so sweet you can almost taste it. There were at least a dozen hummingbirds buzzing through the flowers finding their supper and Wheel of Fortune was playing quietly on the TV in the dining room.
We talked about how badly we need rain, how terrible our allergies have been, and then we talked about grocery shopping. When we get together, we love to complain about things that aren’t a big deal. It’s kind of our thing. I told her, “You know I’ve been to Kroger several times this month and brought home expired groceries. Peanut butter that went out in February! Caramel dip that went out in July! Kroger’s got to tighten up.” Then she began a similar story with her stroke-limited vocabulary that I’ve learned to understand perfectly well: “One time, Karen got them ( “them” meaning “me” in Mammaw’s new language) Kate.. kade.. Kay.. CAKE. CAKE. Mix. You know, I’m crazy now. Cake mix. And she (“I”) opened it up, and poured it out and there were worms in it. She threw it out to the store and the girl just said “okay, go get them one” (meaning, “okay, go get another box.”) and that’s all she said. She didn’t say anything else about it.”
I hope I never forget a word she tells me, even if she’s not fully in control of her speech anymore. I know it’s frustrating for her, but I love these conversations more than she will ever know.