Sunday, March 9, 2008


There was a live band at dinner playing old tunes that make the cronies get up and dance. They hold each other close and move in such a way that there is no question they've been dancing together for years. I turned and asked Grandpa if he danced when he was young.

It was like a movie scene unfolding as he talked about the days when every Friday night his little hometown of Holden, Utah would put on a dance. There was a live band that would throw soap flakes on to the floor as they sung so by the end of the night when people were loose and feeling the beat of the drums to their marrow, they could slide on the floor, afresh with slippery soap. The scene from his memory seemed sparkling and pristine, like looking through a brand new photograph with a gloss finish.

The lagoon served as a talking place. We sat in the water as it gently rolled onto the shore and covered our legs in sand. The waves broke on the jetty that surrounded the cove we were nestled in, and the crashing sounds served as the undertone to our conversation.

I've always asked Grandma to tell me stories. Ever since I can remember--having "sleepovers with Grandma!"--I have asked and she has told. I have listened to her tell about childhood friends, her prized possessions, burying her mother at age 19. . . all of these things have shaped and sculpted my grandmother and my knowledge of her stories makes me appreciate the woman she is even more. Today I was at it again, asking question after question and sending her into one episode after another. I loved it.

Today's stories centered around Grandpa; how they met, how they wrote and courted, his mission, her mother, the National Guard, the proposal. It all seems like it came straight out of a movie. I pictured her perfectly pinned curls, and his charming smile. I loved hearing about how she felt as she drove to the temple, or how she coped as he was hit with health problems, depression, descension and redemption. It made her feel so human and made me realize just how many things go into creating a person with such dimension.

Then there was color and chatter. Music playing in the background and acrylic nail polish all spread out. Picking the perfect color is never easy. Again my mind started reeling as I thought of more things to ask her. She talked about her sisters, our parents, her thoughts and her dreams. I felt like I was holding a magnifying glass to her brain and examining all the retrievable stuff inside.

I am so lucky to have this time with them, to get to know them better, and be able to understand myself just a little bit better by seeing through their aged eyes.

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