I talked to my grandmother the other evening. Her name is Nora, but I've always called her Granny. It was her birthday. I'd not talked to her in some time, far too long. Her voice was the same, I believe I could pick her's out in a chorus. Some things do not change. But other things do change and after a few introductory moments, her changeless voice spoke of transience. She spoke of her sister, Margaret, and how she misses her so. Margaret would call her every evening and they would talk as sisters do, of neighbors and weather and memories of Papa. But Margaret has gone on now and my Granny's phone is not roused of an evening.
Memories of her sister stirred memories of her brother. This past fall, he died. His name was Sam, everybody called him S.C. He drove a bus in downtown Dallas for thirty years and was faithful even longer to the Church of Christ. S.C. was never without a joke, even this past fall as my parents and I visited him and he sat in diapers in something called 'assisted living.' He was getting assistance alright, but I'm not sure about the living. My father took out his cell phone and dialed my Granny's number. S.C. spoke his sister's name as Noe-ruh, stressing the first syllable. They talked a moment, brother to sister, the last of their family...I'd love to see you too, Noe-ruh. My Granny remembered that in our conversation.
There was one more to talk of...I wondered how long it would take my Granny to speak his name - Charlie, her husband, my Grandad. He's been gone a decade now, far too long. She told me still keeps his Ford LTD in the garage; it hasn't been started in years. She said maybe that's silly, John...I told her there are silly things in this world, but that's not one of them. Her voice crackled...they're all gone now...its just me. As we continued to talk, tears streamed my face as I looked out on my children jumping on a trampoline, changing with each skyward leap, right before my eyes.
My phone call was one of a number she received that day. I was thankful to hear that other relatives had stopped and taken the time to dial the numbers that have not changed since Charlie and Nora sold the farm and moved to town years ago. Some things do not change.
I told my Granny once more happy birthday and I love you. She said I love you too, John. As our call ended, I thought about all the folks out there who practically worship change, some even intent on creating change, 'change-agents' I believe they're called. Damn fools. We are born, we live and love and cuss and bless children, we drive buses and call our sisters and joke and jump and remember Papa, we stand and weep as dust goes to dust or sit in diapers and long for the days of jubilee when we shall see them again, for there are always those who go on ahead while we are left to wait and wonder and blow out one more year.
I do believe I could pick out her voice in a chorus.