My Grandma Betty died on Sunday.
My Grandma Buttsy, who I can envision clearly, puttering around the kitchen, making mashed potatoes and offering me grape soda.
She once made me a popcorn ball the size of a basketball for my birthday.
She had a garden that was so lovely, so tasty, that I thought for sure her gardening genes were so strong they would automatically be passed on to me. Alas . . .my attempts at gardening will never compare to Grandma Betty's.
Dear God, And so I live in a time and place where my letters to God are typed on my iPhone inside an arctic subway car. But surely You are used to this-followers and children squeezing You in when they can, doling out snippets of time in between. In between anything and everything that supersedes a relationship with You. And I am happy. And I am worried. But I am happy. And that girl is something else, God. Did you create us for each other? Or is she one of many created with me in mind, and vice versa?
This is a reminder to you, but mostly to me, but also to you, that God answers prayers. I mean, not every single one of my prayers in life has been answered (and yes, I'm still stunned that my one painful and critical request two years ago was not fulfilled) but some of them have. Specifically, in the last two months alone, I can think of 8 prayers that were acknowledged and handled. This is a miracle when I truly sit and ponder it, and I wish that appreciation and thankfulness would stick with me 100% of the time, instead of wavering in and out while I focus on unanswered prayers.
When I was approaching my teenage years, my family got a dog. We all put our names into a hat to decide who would get the esteemed job of naming our baby black fluff ball (she was a Peki-Pom back before designer breeds became all the rage). My kid sister, abnormally obsessed with Victor Hugo's Les Miserables at such a young age, won the round and christened our new pet with the name Cosette. It wasn't long before we shortened it to Cozy, which was much more apropos for our four legged little buddy.
And she said what she often said,
Keep Passing The Open Windows,
which is a line from one of their favorite books.
But instead of quoting something back, something like
which would have been fitting and a standard response between them,
The Sister let the worry creep in and said
(or yelled, it was unclear if she was talking in a normal, exasperated voice, or a slightly louder, more forceful voice)
Sister, take off the heavy boots.
Take off your heavy boots and go to bed barefoot tonight.
And when you are riding your bike down 6th Ave, and you pass a woman crying, think about stopping. This young, distraught woman whose loveliness is stifled by despair might need you. But remember, she is not your friend. You can console her, hug her, maybe, but don't kiss her forehead and refrain from massaging. Listen, of course listen, but proffered advice is not always welcome. You can't just say, “Perhaps it's time to cut out all films dealing with cancer.” For that matter, why go see any movie with death in it? Or pain inflicted on animals. Or anything to do with addiction.
In the last week, I have come across the word “ubiquitous” within the first few chapters of three different books. I think the word “ubiquitous” has become ubiquitous.
Crissy Powers, my bike, is too heavy to carry up and down three flights of stairs every day. However, when there is a large pile of vomitus disgustus marinating outside the elevator, it is amazing how light she becomes.
And so last night I went to see Bon Iver live at the Prospect Park Bandshell, which is an incredible outdoor venue inside an incredibly beautiful park in Brooklyn. And while everyone stood around me, swaying and clapping and even dancing (and oh how cute they are, those two, my friends, the ones dancing with hands clasped and eyes closed, almost old-fashioned the way they move, and really they are the best looking couple in all of New York City, especially because they are quite lovely people on the inside, too) I stayed on the ground.