Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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Leaves turning.

Opening the morning shutters in my pajamas, I didn’t have my cell phone camera with me, so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that the yellow turning leaves of the apricot tree against the pink sky pulling the sun was nothing less than spectacular! In the short time it took me to get upstairs the sky had turned to orange, and in a split second, the sun, (that ol’ show stopper) took over and yellow-whited everything. But it did happen. And I saw it. And writing it here, the moment still passes, I suppose, but the feeling remains.

I guess it’s the same with love. With life. All just spectacular, tiny moments. 

When they tore down Petermeier’s Funeral Home, seeing the empty lot for a brief moment, all the colors of my grandma faded. She was such a part of that place. What started as just a small job of phone sitting, turned into something, well, spectacular. Being a small funeral home in a small town, the phone rarely rang. So my grandma filled the time — and no one could fill time better than my grandma. So we joined her, my cousins and I. Playing card games. Riding the vacuum cleaner. Opening unused coffins. Dancing on mopped floors. Hiding behind ceiling-high red velvet curtains. Learning, respectfully, unafraid, the names of the poor souls that did pass, my grandma saw to that. 

There was a reluctance at first, to let the two young Petermeier children into our grandma’s life. Her name was not Elsie, as they called her, it was “grandma,” and that gave us protective ownership, so we thought. But as her love for them grew, and never diminished for us, we allowed it (and by allowed it I mean, we joyfully ran within it.)

We had already said good-bye to my grandma by the time they tore that building down. Actually saying our goodbyes in that very place. Sitting at the stop lights beside the vacancy, my heart echoed with her laughter. She was still beating us at the card game she hadn’t bothered to teach us before playing. The colors filled my heart. The light turned green. I moved on. All the feelings remained.

They still do. Even as I type this, the yellow leaves pass like moments, dropping from the apricot tree. Time keeps passing. But I am a day-filler! My grandma taught me that. It’s not lost on me that the color of the apricot leaves match the French cookies that I made yesterday, (they too are disappearing). And the cookies match the clothing of the woman I recently painted, on a golden day that I did, indeed, fill! 

Thank you, Grandma.