She would go to almost anything. See almost anyone. One ring of the party-line telephone and she’d be getting in the car. With me hesitating on the steps of her farmhouse, she’d look back and say, “Be a come-with gal.” And even though it sounded like a horrible thing to do — this garage sale, this coffee in the church basement, this visitation at the funeral home– she would continue to smile at me, and the curl of her upper lip cartoon-pulled at my t-shirt, and soon I’d be getting in the car.
“Oh, it’s gonna be great,” she said, talking over the farm report on the radio. I loved her and I wanted to be convinced. Only Paul Harvey could stop the sell. We rolled up the windows and listened.
Each event itself would have been, well, uneventful, but it was the time with my grandma that made it so special. Everyone knew her. From the moment she entered a room, or a lawn, the words, “Oh, Elsie…” rang through the crowd. All I could do was watch the show. I marveled at the fun she was having. More than anyone else it seemed. I guess it was because she had already decided while opening the car door, that she was going to have a good time. All worries and expectations flew out the window. Her extra wide house shoes turned into ruby slippers and she was determined to have some fun.
It’s easy to forget. The mundane tasks of grocery and hardware can seem like a drudgery at times. Dominique will ask if I want to go to Leroy Merlin (our version of Home Depot) and it feels like it would be so easy to turn away. But then I see her. Hear her smiling. “I’m a come-with gal,” I say, and get in the car.
If she missed a day, I didn’t see it. I think she heard the voice that called daily, to come along for the ride. I wake up to the morning, smile, and listen.