Tuesday, April 24, 2007
My great-grandmother, Mimi, unlike either set of my grandparents, was a saint, the kind of woman you could imagine as someone's great grandmother -- wise and kind, full of stories and sympathy. I shared a bed with her in my parents' house for many years due to the lack of space and the worst thing she ever did was harbor a deep hatred of our poodle, Peppi, because she feared that he "had bacteria all over him." Mimi spoke in a mix of French and broken English so I learned a lot of curse words when Peppi would ferret his way underneath our bed. She'd take a broom and yell at him, trying to prod him out. Of course, Peppi loved a challenge. There were many places he could have hung out; he chose the one that upset someone. The only time Mimi and Peppi achieved a truce was in the evenings after her pain medication had kicked in and she'd take his paws and dance him around to "Ring of Fire." Peppi loved to dance, especially when a good song with a rocking horn section was playing. His fondness extended to Herb Alpert, but Mimi wasn't so big on "The Lonely Bull." They got on for a few brief minutes before Peppi became her nemesis again.
For her part, she spent a lot of time thinking about where the bacteria-ridden Peppi might be. "He's not here, but he is," she'd say. "The spirit of Peppi is about." Object permanence is the psychological term used to describe the awareness that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible. She had this down to an art. Sometimes she'd confer with her two dead sons. I didn't understand then how people could be both dead and present. One day she explained it to me, saying that you are where you happen to be and also where you wish to be. Seldom are those the same place. Our troubled hearts don't allow them to be so we do the best we can with what we know is there even when it isn't.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I wanted to write a story about love one morning. I liked love and could hardly do without it." Larry Brown
Drinking novel suggestion: Disgrace J.M. Coetze
Benedictions and Maledictions