“What’s a hashtag?” My aunt asks the room, as my Grandma June places her hands on her lap. My Uncle Ben peels the Fantasy Football draft chart off the taupe living room wall, and my cousins are dying, as my Aunt talks about my sister’s love of Pokemon: “She’s hashtag pounddeepinit,” she says, and my cousins and I just can’t even with that hashtag. “I just like the word ‘hashtag.’ It reminds me of that old commercial. Hashtag ‘Where’s the beef?'” Blank stares. “Jeff,” she turns to my Mom’s brother, “You remember ‘Where’s the beef?'” He does. There’s a football game on. People walking around wondering which wine glass is theirs. A cluster of birthdays and the fantasy football draft brought the two sides of my family together this past Sunday, and my grandma, her age seeming to match her weight, 95, is quiet during all of this. She smiles but doesn’t say a word. I am sitting on the arm of her chair. She asks me about my upcoming trip to Europe. “Grandpa and I were fortunate to be able to go to Europe eight times together,” she says, humbly. My grandpa died in June. When I ask her how she’s doing, she nods, but her lip quivers. She doesn’t look so much like she’s leaning on her walker as she’s taking care of it. She looks out the window.
“What was your favorite city?” I ask her.
“Paris,” she says.
“A few years ago, Grandpa was already in the home, you know,” she continues, her Wisconsin accent coming through. The football game and laughter like a sea of noise around us. “I couldn’t go to the actual Paris, anymore. But I went down to the strip and stayed at the hotel. And I tell ya, I had a pretty good time in the fake one, too.”
Sidonie Gabrielle Collette once said: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wished I’d known it sooner.” I think she was talking about the miracle of beating hearts and wedding cookies, and her words are in my head as I get ready to leave for Croatia tomorrow morning. This was a crazy week with the trip planning, etc. but I wanted to check in. I may try to post once while I am there, and will post again when I get back.