“I’m going to Grandma and Papa’s house.”
I flinch immediately after I say it.
Oh wait…no I’m not.
But I keep saying that every time. “I’m going to Grandma and Papa’s house.” And I’m not alone.
“I’m going to Grandma and Papa’s house,” Adam said today. He had to go take care of some yard work, I’m sure. No you’re not, I thought, that’s not where you’re going.
It’s funny how easily things roll off your tongue. I curse like a sailor without thinking when I am pissed off or upset. My favorites include “Jesus Christ!”, “Goddammit!”, “Shit!”, and other not-so-ladylike words that escape my mouth. This statement is just another one where it’s amazing how you speak without thinking. “I’m going to Grandma and Papa’s house.” I still say that without thinking.
We should change it to “I’m going to Grandma’s house”…but none of us have. It’s still Papa’s, too. Right now he’s over there sleeping with his ‘do rag on his head to keep his snow-white hair in place while he enjoys his slumber. Tomorrow morning, he’ll get up extra early to either get gussied up and get to church on time or to just sit around at the table in his bathrobe until noon. The table will be strewn with the papers they have tossed aside after reading and his many medications will be sitting in front of him at the ready. He’s old at age 87, but he is still sharp as a tack when it comes to keeping everything in order. He takes notes and records all afternoon. Eventually he even takes the time to sit out on the deck in his chair to enjoy the summer sunshine that he so enjoys. His hands remain cold as ice though they are absorbing plenty of sun.
He’s still over there in my mind when I am over here thinking about him (which is quite often). He still goes about his daily routine while I keep living my unpredictable life.
…it’s when I go over there that I realize that something big is missing – something that I could always count on to remain constant even while everything else around me changed.
I know that as soon as I walk through the door, it’s Grandma’s house. His table mess has been cleared away and nothing smells like him anymore. There are plans to add a first-floor laundry and even talk of possibly purchasing a smaller vehicle – both things that would not have been brought up in Papa’s house. His side of the bed is made and there’s a flag folded and set on the mantle. The constant has changed.
In my mind, it’s still Grandma and Papa’s house. In my mind, I can pretend that he’s over there, sporting his ‘do rag and sleeping.