in march, she was caught by the fluid building in her lungs, unable to get out of bed or dress without assistance. they brought her home, found caregivers, knowing that at 93, her heart was slowing to a turtle's pace. wondered if at some point the ticker that had been ticking since the end of january 1918, would soon come to a full stop. I wrote about her then, about how worried we were for her.
but she kept on ticking, in the best john cameron swazye kind of way.
just a few days ago, we paid her a visit for our annual july 4th weekend with our 'fake family', and there she was, beaproned and standing in the kitchen making her special congealed salad which she makes every year for us. and on another day, she reached into the oven to check on her two perfectly baked lemon chess pies. she sat with us at the table as 11 of us gathered — for all 10 meals — laughing and talking, posing with her grandson, sharing a cocktail in the evening with granddaughters and friends, rocking on the porch in the heat.... sure she was tethered to her artificial breath, but still.
in our time together, we talked about how her unmarried uncle in the 1920s used to take she and her sister to town, dressed in fine feathers and spats to cover their shoes, driving them the 30 miles to the capital city, promising her a new car when she turned 16 so she could drive him instead. only he got married before her birthday, and she never got that car.
she told me how much she liked my husband when she first met him 30 years ago. 'he was a good one,' she said, 'i could tell.' and don'tcha know for the most part, he has been? and he dotes on her, that he does.
as the holiday ended, she was doing this: talking into the face of an iPad, recording her voice into the heart Talking Tom Cat, laughing with her granddaughters at this new technology which was only invented when she turned 92.
that night she watched The Bachelorette. THE BACHELORETTE. i have never seen the show myself, but apparently everybody spends a lot of time in the hot tub, and the bachelor in question kicked out the prettiest one. and as the fireworks flew and boomed outside, inside her room with the tv on nana comforted the three dogs (two of them large) who cowered at her feet. nothing gets this farm girl down. not a faint ticker. and not something as newfangled as a computer the size of a good book with a crazy kind of kitty on the screen who talks back, surely not that. because there is always something newfangled appearing out there in the world and it appears that nana's ticker is ticking around to see just what turns up next.