Full Circle: Year-end musings

Published 8:36 am Friday, December 23, 2016

Glen and I accomplished a remarkable feat this year. We woke up! 365 times!

All in a row! I really like waking up. It’s the best way I know to start a new day.

Another remarkable thing happened this year. Our delicious grands went to college — all four at once! Zak — University of Texas; Madeline — Wellesley College; Gregg — Lafayette College; Maxx — Texas State.

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We don’t remember exactly when they all suddenly became so grown up — so confident, so fun, so charming? Or when they all suddenly knew so much real adult stuff?? This is wonderful, of course, but at the same time I miss the innocence of their childish ways. In particular I long for the funny spontaneous things they used to say. Take Gregg for example. As a little boy, he couldn’t abide pulpy drinks. One day as I was stirring a pitcher of Minute Maid, he grumbled to himself, “Not again! Grams is putting pulp in my orange juice!!”

About the same time theologian Zak (4) was insisting that Mother Nature was God’s wife, while Madeline (nearly 4) was inquiring about my upcoming colonoscopy. “What is it?” she asked concernedly. “Well,” I explained, “the doctor will put a tiny camera inside me, move it around and look at my insides.” Madeline’s eyebrows jolted upward so fast they nearly flew off her forehead. “Gosh,” she burst out in amazement, “the doctor sure must have a long arm!”

And who could forget the moment when Maxx (3) and Gregg (4) had their first heated argument. Searching desperately for the meanest, most vile word they knew, a distressed Maxx wailed at the top of his lungs, “Wah! Gregg said I’m a genius. I’m not a genius, he’s a genius!” “No!” cried Gregg in a louder and even more distressed voice, “I’m not a genius! Maxx’s a genius!!” Trust me. I knew their pain. Some days you’re the bug; some days the windshield.

By age 5, Madeline had become a good cook always dreaming up novel recipes. “Grams,” she exclaimed, “I’ve got a great idea. Let’s make lemonade out of cornmeal!” I would have sincerely tried if I had not been so busy answering Gregg’s query: “If you buy a house, how do you get it home?”

Then there was the phone call in which Zak divulged a secret. Conspiratorially he disclosed that the one thing his daddy most fervently wanted was a live monkey.

(Why stop at just an ordinary monkey, I was thinking, when King Kong was an option?) The master plan was for him (4) and sidekick brother Maxx (3) to train it! As Zak talked, I imagined the rascally simian playfully swinging from the kitchen light fixture onto the pot rack while down below the free range alligator (the one I just knew their mom was also praying for) slithered across the tiled floor.

But, then, why should I talk only of the grandcherubs when our three children had verbal gems of their own? Firstborn Jeff (Alaskan geologist) at a very young age liked using big words, often of his own making. Whenever anything good happened he would shout, “Congratalatulatations!” His version, you see, rolling off his tongue more easily then the more difficult “congratulations.” And Matt, (Houston commercial real estate broker), once lamented how all the boys in his Tokyo “gang” were bigger, bossier, stronger and smarter than he. Broken hearted, his 4-year old psyche grieved over the knowledge that his station in life was the lowest of the most imaginably low. Painfully he sobbed to me, “I’m … I’m … I’m not even boss of the bugs!” Regrettably, he was right. He wasn’t.

When Erin (Minneapolis physician) was in kindergarten, she was highly concerned over why one of the boys in her class wore “things” in his ears. I explained they were hearing aids and he wore them because he couldn’t hear. “Well, he could,” she adamantly declared, “if he’d take them out!”

Whatever happened to the days when unintentional malapropisms came out of our mouths? Have we adults now lost touch? I, for one, keep trying. Recently I had an MRI of my foot. I couldn’t stop wondering if it might stop hurting if it didn’t spend so much time in my mouth? Or when many years ago Erin depledged her Kappa Kappa Gama sorority? I announced she had been de-Kappa-tated.

As I continue to figure out life, I realize I’ve never stopped pondering the most important question of all. “Grammy,” Gregg quizzically implored, “who are me and where are me going?” To this I replied, “I’m not sure about you, but me is Grams and me is going back to the laundry room to fold short clothes.”

I still fold clothes. In them, Glen and I continue on our path towards incontinence. We also find it more rewarding to count our blessings instead of sheep, so in our zeal for the holidays, our wish is for the spirit of the season to bring a smile across your face as wide and warm and wonderful as a slice of mincemeat pie.

Happy Holidays!

Peggy Keener of Austin is the author of two books: “Potato In A Rice Bowl” and “Wondahful Mammaries.” Peggy Keener invites readers to share their memories with her by emailing maggiemamm16@gmail.com. Memories shared with Keener may be shared or referenced in subsequent editions of “Full Circle.”