Friday, November 25, 2005

The arrangements for the scholarship fund begun and the service date and time set, I had my brother send notice to everyone. I finished the obituary and paid for it to run in the paper. I confirmed that all the paperwork for my grandmother's cremation has been completed. Now, the work left is her memorial service.

Phone call after phone call, word upon word, I find myself drawn into something that is even more tangled than my own emotions: the many realities of my grandmother. I have had emails of remembered passion and humor. I have read stories of sacrifice and perseverance. I have learned of many things that she was and wondered which is the truth. Or is the answer that there are as many truths as there were people in her life?

I learned that she was a switchboard operator and sales clerk and runway model and sculpture model. I have learned her likeness still stands in statues in Dallas' Fairpark. I want to go there and look for her face, if only to discover if I can see what others did in her.

I have been awash in anger and bitterness that permeates so much of the lives of her children. I heard harsh criticism of her brother when I only know him as the most gracious example of devoted love I have ever seen. People supplied their facts for her obituary and I have waded through them in wonder and disbelief. Which was her truth? Which was my mother's? Which is mine?

Still, despite this, today was a day of great accomplishment with the help of my brother. My kitchen faucet has been rebuilt, my computer updated, my HVAC filter changed, my bathroom light switch turned the correct direction, my luggage returned to the attic, and my Christmas presents purchased in Italy wrapped.

And then, much to my surprise, I had a truly wonderful meal to end the day. Is it possible to have such culinary satisfaction two days in a row? I had cheesy, tangy spinach dip with fresh tortilla chips. I had a most perfect filet mignon with bernaise sauce and a baked potato that truly defines what a baked potato should be. I had the singularly greatest bread experience of my life. I had banana pudding with fresh bananas drizzled with chocolate and caramel, served on a bed of crushed caramelized vanilla wafers. What more could a stomach want?

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