spending time with family.
I cringe because this is my hundredth paper fold as my grandma licks the tip of her finger and turns the torn page over before folding it diagonally. I follow. The stash of scrap paper she has collected over a decade piles in the reused FedEx box. That is how she is, my grandmother, a true believer in the religion of recycling and reuse. Although, her garments might need a bit of an update; she is not one of the hip grandmas who wears the latest teen vogue outfits, cool neon glass frames, purple hair, and nails done to the nines. She’s simply a grandma, in a wool cardigan and white hair. Her coolness comes across in the form of sarcasm, cynicism, and spunk energy.
“How is that girlfriend of yours?” She asks with a muse of distaste and curiosity.
I answer with a grin and a distant awareness of my grandma’s frosty tone, “She’s okay. She’s looking forward to visiting you.”
My grandma dislikes the overtly cheery people and in her soft criticism says, “She needs to learn to wheel in her excitement. The screaming. Don’t tell me she’s a screamer.” And I can not but smile at grandma’s inappropriate suggestions. “But, it’s love… love,” she waves her hand and rolls her eyes as if love was only for the dreamers and fantasy fanatics.
The hard core of grandma’s heart tends to be mostly on display but truly she’s a softy treating my girlfriend as she treats her dearest family, with humour and frankness. And though my girlfriend is a screamer and a burst of happiness, she appreciates my grandma’s candor. ‘A salt to my sweetness,’ my girlfriend would say when describing her relationship with my grandma.
“But, are you happy?” My grandma asks.
“How many of these do we have to make?” I ask after another paper snowflake gets folded and cut out.
“We’re nearly there, dear. Don’t worry about such nonsense. It’s a practice of focus and patience.”
“So, a thousand?” I answer with a question.
“The ballroom needs decoration. So, keep on folding,” she says as she slaps my hand gently. “You know, the fun part will be hanging this in the family room above the Christmas tree. Your mom will lose it. How she gets all wrapped up in the mess. But, isn’t this fun? To be mischievous.”
But, it’s not mischievous. Grandma’s decorations always hang the longest, even after the Christmas tree is taken down. The memories are captured in pictures as the little ones line up and sit underneath the clouds of falling snowflakes. It has become a tradition, grandma’s invaluable treasure, her contribution to the festivities and fun. And I spend hours folding and snipping until the table is filled with handmade ornaments and knickknacks. Every year we add to the collection. Every year we add another memory, not just the article of art but also the time spent with my grandma before time reminds us of its presence.
© Jacob Greb — 2022
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