"Yes! yes, I'm sorry, the work week was really hectic, I --"
"I *assumed* you got it. But it's nice --"
"--I did!Thank you!"
"----to *know.* I assumed it arrived, anyway."
"Lots of gloves, they'll be very useful."
"And nuts help to lower cholesterol. *I* should eat more nuts. Anyway, the pistachios were on sale."
"and the clothes pins, I have never seen any like it, with that clip at the top~"
"I figured you could use those to hang prints. And I certainly have enough clothes pins. They don't do anyone any good sitting in a box!"
|They are pretty cool. Substantial!|
"You're welcome." We settle in. She asks about a slow-burning health insurance nightmare that I have been contending with for half a year. Shockingly, a ray of hope has developed. Unlike previous unseen letters written by various departments noting in a fuzzy way that doctors ordered tests because they felt they were necessary (cagey doctors!), a newer, more precise letter has been written. And I have actually seen it. Which is helpful, but odd, mainly because of the first statement, which goes something like: "Patient has an x% chance of developing dreaded nastiness over the course of her life." Well, ok. It's just...odd.
"Hmph." says Mom.
"I mean, honestly, I know they have all kinds of ways of estimating, but that's difficult for me to believe. And maybe this is a dodge, but over a lifetime...so they include 90s? Everyone gets sick in their nineties."
"Right, everyone gets sick then. Plus, you could trip and fall down the steps and be taken out!"
"Well, true--" I love that the phrase she uses is "taken out."
"And how do they figure THAT in? The doctors, they don't know." While you may already be aware that she is a medalled athlete in the National Worry Triathalon, we are now encountering her in her circumspect aspect. "You've got to die of something. Who's not going to die?"
We mosey onward. I tell her about some new characters wandering through. "Is this person gay?" She has progressed a bit over the past few years. "Gay" is no longer uttered in weird italicized fonts. Nevertheless, the question momentarily startles me. "Um, nope. I highly doubt that." She asks enough questions to establish that she doesn't really need to keep these people on her radar at this point. She doesn't usually note my friends/loved ones until they have been in my life for some time. Her interest shifts to what she really wants to talk about:
"Did I tell you I bought a tiny rug?"
"....No. Do tell."
"Well!" and she was off. I confess, the details floated past me. There was a sale most likely, there was fringing, but it was dry clean only and though it wouldn't be high-traffic area, this seemed worrisome. But then it seems she MUST have gone with it anyway, because it doesn't match the powder room curtain "And your father went to Calico Corner with me and helped me pick out fabric for a new curtain. I'll send you a swatch."
On a more substantive note, she talked about an editorial she read in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how the Amish community is handling the Nickel Mine tragedy, five years on. Five years ago, a disturbed man within the Amish community entered a schoolhouse and shot ten school girls (five died), before shooting himself. It was devastating to read the coverage. Makes me think of the movie The Sweet Hereafter, based on a Russell Banks book about a horrendous accident with a school bus and how the small community is affected in so many awful ways. The Pennsylvanian community has taken pains to care for the shooter's widow and their surviving children. The editorial speaks about forgiveness, and how the community tries to embrace it as a journey. It's something you develop and tend to, like gratefulness. I think Maestra would really appreciate this conversation and add to it; wish my Mom could talk with her.
Mom reads me a quote from an Amish farmer: "Acid corrodes the container that holds it. That's what happens when we hold onto bitterness." Pretty spot on. Good food for thought.
Post script from Mom: "And also, you may hold a grudge against someone and they don't even know and they'll just go on with their own stupid way of things." Heh. Also true.