Canasta & Grandmother
It’s way too late to start a blog post, but this is how I roll. (That’s how the kids are talking these days, right?) This pic of my sweet McBaby #3 brings back memories of my “Sitsiti” Arabic for maternal Great-Grandmother. Something about the white headscarf she is wearing and the dark eyes. It’s amazing how sweet memories can immediately open up Pandora’s box though.
Is it just me or does your heart almost immediately pang with longing for times gone by as soon as you revel in the memory? A longing for things to be, well, different. As they should be and were originally intended, I suppose. Not confined by time.
One of the places I long to go very badly is my paternal Grandmother’s kitchen table. I yearn to go back to that place almost daily. As I raise my own children around the kitchen table, the memory stays very fresh, very vivid, and I have the best of memories about hers.
For starters, it was a drop-leaf table. The perfect table for someone living on her own, but who could immediately and easily make room for us grandkids to come visit. I long for that place because we spent so much time there in the afternoons. “Kings on the Corner”, “Canasta”, and “Dominoes” were our favorite games - and oh how we played for hours and hours… or so it seemed as a small child. There was no hurry. The only other things on our agenda were playing piano, visiting the forestry, and baking bread.
The more that I think of this place, the more romanticized it has become I’m sure. I want to go there. I want to be a kid. I want to see my grandmother. I want to have time to play cards for hours on end. I want my brother to be little again and slide with me at the park. I want my sister to be the little baby that fit in the drawer/makeshift-crib out of my Grandmother’s dresser. I want my cousin to be thirteen and make up scavenger hunts and skits with me. I want to smell fresh bread baking in the background and know that after I fill up on it, I will get to spend the night at her house. I want a shiny penny to put on my dominoes. I want a bite of her homemade jam. I want her to ask me to practice my hymns on the piano – to play the instrument “just because” it’s a blessing to do it, hear it, sing it, be reminded of the Truth. I want to see her closet full of homemade quilts. I want to hear the sound of her well-taken-care-of-typewriter for which she made me use the correct fingering. I want to nearly bust at suppressing laughter at the old man that always fell asleep at her church. I want to sit on her white davenport. I want to drink her sun tea. I want to be introduced to “Anne of Green Gables” for the first time again and again in her living room. I want to see her long skinny leather walking shoes that she wore with pantyhose even when we were just hanging out. I want to taste her taco salad. I want to drink out of her red glasses. I want to have a peppermint out of her never-ending-peppermint bowl.
But. I. can’t. And my heart hurts when I think about it. As much as I can dream of it, I can’t go back. As much as I wish Marty McFly and Doc Brown would show up in my living room, it won’t happen. Wahp. Wahp. Depressing post, eh?
What brings me solace tonight before I put my head on the pillow though? I looked up the meaning of the word “canasta” and it means basket (Spanish). I immediately thought of Mary “treasuring these things in her heart” when she found out she was pregnant with the Christ child, and I saw that while I can’t go back, I can carry a basket forward with as many memories as I want. It can hold whatever I’d like and memories make up my story. I treasure these things in my heart. They make me who I am. That’s all I got. No big word or spiritual epiphany, just a tisket, a tasket, a little memory basket… and a blog to share a bunch of things “outloud” (so to speak/write). Good night.