Hugs, flowers, and headgear.

Gam came to every single one of my ballet recitals.

(And piano concerts and choir fiascos and baseball games…)

Insisting that I was the best one out there, even though I wasn’t…

Telling me I looked beautiful, even though I looked like Princess Tweelex …

(Can somebody please tell me what in the world is on my head?)


Optimism, Take 2

I wake up to a buzzing phone. It’s Gam. And it’s 6:30 a.m.


“Jenny? It’s Gammy! And I’m just calling you to tell you that today is going to be a GOOD day, with the help of the Lord.”

“Oh yeah?” I roll over and squint at the clock. Yep. It’s 6:30.

“Chess! Because you’re going to pray it so, aren’t you?”

“Of course.”

“Ok. And we’re OFF! Talk to you tomorrow!”


The cancer (never referred to as such . . . Gam always says “this thing” or “this disease,” or, my favorite, “this silly thing that they say I’ve got” . . . ) is a little unpredictable. It gives her good days where she feels like dancing and going on dates; and bad days where she can’t stay awake for more than a few moments at a time and wonders if “this is it.”  I hate those days.

But the Optimism keeps her going. Maybe it keeps me going, too. It’s her extra Ninja Trait, and by far my favorite.

If were a silly thing like cancer, I wouldn’t want to mess with Gam today. It’s going to be a good one.


Grandma Likes to Get Her Groove On.

I thought Gam was giving me a compliment.

The groom's wearing sneakers?

Holy Sheets and Pillowcases.

“Jenny–[mufflemuffle]–looked so beautiful at the wedding. I mean, just gorgeous. Absolutely stunning!”

“Awww….thanks, Gam.”

“No–I wasn’t talking about you, I was talking about me! Did you see the pictures?”

She did look stunning at the wedding. Her best friend at Riddle, Betty Trulear, (admittedly the only African American resident in the place and a sweetheart to boot) came over early to do her makeup. She really did look beautiful.

She had been feeling lousy all weekend–weak and tired. She couldn’t walk anywhere without someone’s arm to hold onto. It took two people (my mom and my aunt) to help her to the restroom. And she was grumpy.

“Do you know they’re getting married in a barn? The meal is buffet style! Are they wearing sneakers at the alter? The groom’s not even wearin’ a tux!”

I try to explain to her that weddings aren’t as formal as they used to be. People like to have fun–be themselves. Use colors they like, order in their favorite take-out, and yes, wear Chuck’s at the alter. She wasn’t impressed.

It was a ridiculously fun wedding! But Gam wasn’t feelin’ it. My mom spent the whole night steadying her so she wouldn’t stumble–helping her to the restroom, stopping half-way back to her seat to rest a while because she was so winded. Honestly, we were all pretty worried about her.

But when the DJ started up and it was time to boogie? Holy Moses! A Divine Healing! Pictures to prove it! Either that or somebody didn’t really feel that  . . . Anyway. Grandma likes to dance.

You make me. Feel like I'm livin' a teen-age. Dream.



Dancing and Broccoli

“So, how you feelin’ today Gam?”

“Well I don’t feel like dancing.”

“That’s OK. Neither do I.”

“But Jenny, today I had the most wonderful brocolli. Truly, the most delicious brocolli.”


“Yes, Brocolli. It was dark, and green, and the perfect mix of tender and crisp.”

“Wow. I didn’t know you were such a fan.”

“I’m not, I hate brocolli. It’s just that the macaroni and cheese was so terrible.”