Before my parents took off for the weekend, they asked if I could do them a favor and drop something off at my grandmother’s house. I agreed – not just to maintain my #1 Daughter status, but also because I was moving in less than a week and visiting Grandma was something I needed to do before I left.
Time with Grandma, however, wasn’t on my checklist. I had to pack for my move. Call the editor of Busted Halo with a decision as to if I would again blog for them. Answer the fifty e-mails sitting in my in-box in my quest to get down to zero before I left.
Instead of doing any of that, I sat on the internet looking up delicious-sounding vegetarian dishes. I switched over to BustedHalo.com. I perused the other articles, trying to figure out how/if I could fit in and what angle I would take. I went to the posts I had written earlier, and that’s when it hit me.
I started to print all the posts I’d written about the Camino (on white paper) and the comments (on yellow paper). When I was finished, I called Mom and Dad to find where they stored a three-hole-punch. I punched all the pages and put them in a black one-inch thick binder. Then, I headed to Grandma’s.
As I walked toward the front of her building, I saw her and one of her friends heading out. “Where you going?” I asked.
“Oh – I completely forgot you were coming!” Grandma said. “We’re going to pick up Chinese. Why don’t you come?”
Getting in a car driven by my 88-year-old grandmother wasn’t something I was looking forward to. I was a little slow on the uptake and agreed – later wondering why I didn’t just offer to drive. Off we went. I tried to look out the side windows, or at the speedometer hoping she wouldn’t go too much faster than I would have.
The drive wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Probably because the Chinese food place was less than a mile away and only required right turns. We brought the food back to her house and sat down to eat. I’m pretty sure this was the first time in my life I’ve eaten anything other than Italian food at my grandmother’s home. I felt a little like I was in another dimension.
She asked about my trip and, as happened frequently since I’ve returned, I stumbled over where to start, what to say. But I had a book of words I had written along The Way. I don’t think Grandma fully understood what the binder was when I handed it to her, but she promised to look at it before I came back two days later for the traditional Sunday meatballs. (Note: Sunday would be the first time I headed to Grandma’s and would not eat meatballs as I’d become a vegetarian three months earlier, but I wasn’t going to get into that yet.)
That evening, back at Mom and Dad’s, the phone rang. I don’t usually answer their phone as I don’t really live there and the calls are not usually for me. But the caller ID said it was Grandma, so I picked it up.
“I just had to call,” she said. “I’m three-quarters of the way through your book and I just can’t put it down!” Well, apparently she could since she had to put it down in order to call me…but that’s beside the point. “This is just so amazing. I feel like I’m right there with you. I can’t believe you did this.”
Though I had printed out the comments more for me to relish in later than anything, Grandma loved those too. She was amazed, like I was, that total strangers wrote responses to my posts.
During this conversation, it struck me that the best part of writing for Busted Halo while I was on the Camino was this: that I had a book my grandmother could read to understand a bit more about what I had just accomplished.
On Sunday, I went to Grandma’s and turned down meatballs explaining I was a vegetarian.
“Well, at least have some of the sauce,” she said.
“I can’t eat that either.”
“What? Why not?”
“Because you cooked the meatballs in the sauce.”
“Really?” She scrunched up her face, thoroughly mystified.
She scoured the refrigerator. Like any Italian grandmother would have, there were plenty of other choices in there. She breathed a great sigh of relief when I accepted her offer of roasted red peppers.