Our turn is coming but until it does, I plan to be outside for a part of every day; that I can walk out my front door and just take off with a choice of “do I want to walk over to the canal or amble down neighborhood sidewalks?” is something I’ve come to value.
Some days the dogs come with me. Some days they stay at home. Yesterday, they stayed at home. I’d be stopping at the village offices to pay a bill and paying Lori a visit at MB Booktique and it was easier, this time, to go solo.
It’s an election year and political signs rub elbows against For Sale signs. Halloween decorations? Witches and goblins lean up against front porches. Stuffed scarecrows with pumpkin heads sit in Adirondack chairs, sightlessly staring at passing traffic.
Small town life. Equal parts blessing and curse. Do I leave? Should I stay? Am I missing something larger and better that’s Someplace Else?
I wonder if my grandmother ever wanted more than this town and her life with my grandfather? I stand in the exact same spot in the kitchen where she used to stand doing some of the things that she used to do. Washing dishes. Chopping onions. Looking out the window above the kitchen sink.
After my grandfather’s cancer diagnosis, she would spend the day with him at the nursing facility. I would meet her there after work. We’d see each other in the entrance way. She was waiting for one of her neighbors to pick her up and I was headed in to spend the dinner hour with him.
“He loves it when you visit,” she would say each time.
One night, before I left, I climbed into his hospital bed and stretched out beside him. We just lay there, staring up at the ceiling. After a while, he would tell me his stories about working for the railroad, about the car shops in East Rochester.
And then we’d be quiet until he slowly turned his head to look at me. With a strong inflection in his voice, he said, “He DOES exist you know.”
I held his hand as we both continued to stare up at the ceiling, listening to the clatter of rolling carts die down as the aids took the dinner trays down to the kitchen. [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]