Soteria and I–though this weekend we were “Sami and Leelee” again–went to visit our French Grandmother in hospice yesterday. (Montpelier really *is* over the river and through the woods.) We played Rosemary Clooney songs, and danced, and smiled a lot, and yelled, “Nazi Oxygen Tanks!” at each other whenever we started to tear up.(We discussed the prevalence of reused swastika-bearing oxygen tanks while waiting for the nurses to get Memere ready.) I kept pinching myself and thinking, CUT IT OUT, CRYBABY, THIS IS PROBABLY THE LAST TIME YOU’RE GOING TO SEE YOUR GRANDMOTHER. SUCK IT UP. Didn’t work very well, though. I only managed to whisper “I love you” in her ear before losing it in the hallway on the way out.
Memere doesn’t really remember us anymore, or talk much, for that matter, but a few words that came through loud and clear were “Beautiful”, “Happiness”, and “Crazy.” I think that sums us up pretty well. And we get all that from her.
Afterwards, we drove out to DeRonde Road (which was named after my grandmother–Madeleine DeRonde). We parked beside her old house and then literally walked down Memory Lane (now called Barnes Road) to the Morse Farms Sugar Shack. Soteria and I and our friends Sarah and Stephanie all used to get kicked out of there for sampling a bit too much maple syrup…but I sampled it all again this time, because I didn’t think they would recognize me. (Though Soteria is fairly sure they have all our pictures still on the wall in the back room under a WARNING sign.) We bought maple creamies for the walk back, to sooth the soul. It’s so quiet and peaceful up there, and it smells like fresh-cut grass and Queen Anne’s Lace and milkweed and memories.
Oh man…freaking Nazi oxygen tanks…