Friday, February 05, 2010

Something to do...

Found a fun site: that has tons of user generated online jigsaw puzzles. Since I have lots of images, I thought I could probably add a puzzle a day for about a year and a half. Not that we all need something to do, but it's a nice little break from the hub bub. Check back here daily for a new puzzle.

This discovery comes at an odd time. I remember going to my paternal grandmother's house in South Florida, up into my teenage years. Every visit, the card table would come out, and a jigsaw puzzle was spread out, to be completed over the course of the visit. At any given time, there would be 1 to 4 people working on the puzzle.

While I was in college, my paternal grandfather passed away, and my grandmother moved away to live near my aunt and her family. That was over 20 years ago.

Jigsaw puzzles bring back many other memories of the Florida house. Chasing and catching lizards with my cousin, unsupervised cane-pole fishing trips to the lake at the end of the street. Hooking myself in the seat of my pants on one of those trips as I ran from an approaching thunderstorm. I could see the rain move across the lake. Long walks to the 7-11. Getting tar on your feet at the beach in Lantana, and then a Yoo-Hoo on the way home as we sat on the burning hot turquoise vinyl seats of my parents Rambler. Jolly Time popcorn made in one of those plastic dome popcorn poppers. You squeezed this slab of butter-flavored lard into a well at the bottom of the popper and then poured the kernels in. It was salty, especially if you had spent the day at the beach. It burned your lips. The pantry of the kitchen that was dark and woody smelling that contained 6-packs of glass-bottled Coca-Cola that I would drink so I could collect the 50 states that were imprinted on the liners of the bottle caps. And these awesome plastic mugs she had with characters from Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip on them.

As a teenager, I spent a extra week in Florida, after my family had returned to NC, and then took Amtrak back. On that trip, my grandmother took me around to what must have been every surf shop in the area so that I could get a few t-shirts. I tried to weasel a Quiksilver jacket out of her, one that was aqua blue on the outside, with a black lining with aqua blue stars. She was too smart for me, and I ended up with only t-shirts. But she went everywhere I asked so I could get those.

I don't remember much about the Florida house after that. My grandmother has a painting of it that my mother did hanging in her room.

My grandmother still remembers the trips to the surf shops. She told me so the other day. I think she remembers everything that ever happened to her, in astonishing detail. She has been talking to the family this week, saying her goodbyes. She is 94, and having yet another bout with Pneumonia. She has decided that she is ready to go. The bouts with Pneumonia always lead to a trip to the hospital, where it seems she often ends up with MRSA, and she can't go back to her room at her assisted living facility until the MRSA has been cleared up, which is a difficult and lengthy recovery.

I have lost count of the number of times she has gone through this cycle of Pneumonia, MRSA, recovery, back home. But I am certain she could tell me. There have been a number of times that we have thought she was too far gone to recover, only to have her bounce back. But I don't think that will happen this time. She is under the care of hospice, and they are keeping her comfortable, but letting the Pneumonia take it's course.

She has lived what she calls a wonderful, perfect life, and a long one at that. And she has kept her memories of it, right up to the end. She has decided that it is time for her to go. She has done what she came here to do. And now it's time to go back home.


Anonymous said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩

Elizabeth (Beth) Moore said...

John, I hope that by this time your grandmother has found peace... Also, I am writing here to tell you that I just received Flock No 1 that I order from your Etsy store and I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am with your art! I'm using it to inspire the decor of my soon to be finished (newly remodeled) master bathroom and bedroom. Thank you!