Long Distance Calls and A Pending Interview

Phone chats with my grandmother are some of my happiest minutes, especially when the minutes turn into hours.

As I child, I loved time with my mom’s parents, as they were easy to love, patient beyond what I deem normal, and had pretty wild imaginations. From “Honky Tonk’s Pizza Parlor” (see an early post dedicated to this) to the jaunts to a local lake in the summer, and basement billiard lessons, they really were a bag of surprises.

As close as I felt to them growing up, I would have never imagined that as a 30-something, I’d be lucky enough to still have regular, lengthy, important, and grounded conversations with my now 93 year old grandmother.

Tonight on my trek home from Kentucky, I chatted with her for more than an hour, and as usual, we covered recent news in about ten minutes, and then launched into the good stuff—old stories from a time I can only stretch my mind to imagine as I hear the age in her voice, her childlike laughter over old valentines she found from 1915, and the jagged cracks of emotion when she retold something about grandpa.

I sometimes feel guilty for moving away, because I only visit a couple of times a year, and there’s never enough time in a dinner or evening with her. But the truth is, it was the moving away that instigated the phone chats, and I imagine we talk a lot more than we would if she was right under my nose. It’s easy to say I’d visit all the time, and maybe I would, but I wouldn’t trade anything for those long distance calls.

I made a laundry list of questions that I want to know about her younger years, her marriage to grandpa, her perspective of the egg business, etc. and asked her tonight if we could “schedule” some interview time. It’s selfish, really…I want to capture as much of her spirit as I can; I lost this chance already with grandpa and don’t want to squander the present with her. So her interview begins this weekend (especially if she’s snowed in–I’ll have a captive audience!) 🙂

At work last week, the trainees were asked to think about our motivation–why we want to be successful, and what our goals are. When thinking about what motivates and inspires me, I saw her face in my mind and remembered her voice on the phone a couple years ago when I was telling her about my master’s degree. She told me she was proud of me for working so hard–and that’s a moment I’ll never forget.

I can’t wait to start her interview, as I know it’s more time I get to hear the great stories of our family; more importantly, it’ll be a document that can outwit time.





The Girls With The Dragonfly Tattoos

When I was 21, my best friend and I made a permanent decision: we tattooed a dragonfly on our right foot; it’s relatively small, but big enough to make a statement for us.

We had an explanation that only could have been created and understood by us. The “cool” tattoo at the time was a butterfly, and we scorned the cliché ideas we felt surrounded this “insect of beauty” and found it completely unoriginal to follow suit. Instead, we wanted to be like the often over looked dragonfly, who isn’t perhaps as ornately beautiful as the butterfly, but in fact is more interesting, complicated, and delicately beautiful in an obscure and undefined way. Thus, we decided we were like the dragonflies of the world, not the butterflies and decided to don them on our feet forever.

I know it seems silly, but I’m proud of my dragonfly, the bond that it signifies with my best friend, and the reminder of the insecure girl I was then, just trying to find my way and make decisions beyond my years. I love the permanent reminder of who I was then, and the older I get the more I’m proud that I haven’t changed too terribly much, in spite of how badly I wanted to break free and be different back then.

Denise and I continue to blaze our own trails in life and keep each other close, in spite of the entire continent between us. I was in her wedding two years ago, and one of my favorite pictures was the shot of our dragonflied-feet. Few things in life are permanent, but our tattoos and friendship might be as close as it gets.

My dragonfly and Denise continue to remind me to be different, take risks, and find beauty in the unconventional.