Saturday morning was spent wrapped up in books with Ashes. First, we paid a visit to the post office so she could ship off a huge pile of books, thanks to her new obsession, bookmooch. She's mailing off four books to get four back...not a bad deal. Then, off to the library, so she could meet with the head librarian and volunteer to work at the library.
Actually, I'm kind of proud of her. She's already completed her mandatory hours of volunteer time for school...this library thing is something she wants to do all on her own. Kind of makes a dad proud.
Five minutes after arriving home, though, I received a call from my mom on el celephono. That was kind of strange, because mom and I don't usually talk with any great frequency, and we had already made arrangements for mother's day a few days prior. My heart kind of sank a bit...it had to be bad news.
Sure enough. "Teddy. Just wanted you to know. Nana Hall passed away Friday night."
Oh, no. And my first thought turned to mom, how she was dealing with things. "How are you doing?"
I could hear a little sadness in her voice, but she was trying hard to stay strong and positive. "I'm okay. She lived a long life, and was surrounded by people who loved her."
The last time I saw her was eight years ago, at my brother Tommy's wedding. At the wedding, she wore a blue polka dot dress, I recall, and a blue straw hat. It was a beautiful summer day at an expensive beachfront property. Tommy and Mal came in on a tugboat and docked at the pier to say their vows.
It was a glorious day. They gave out goldfish bowls as table prizes. It was a silly idea that probably sounded good in theory, but was sheer hell in execution, since the wedding was hours away from home and I was on vacation with the family. Our goldfish died after one only day, but the experience made for a great story.
At his wedding, I'm sure Nana told me how she remembered how happy I was as a little kid. "Always singing 'What do you get when you fall in love,'" she probably said.
She loved telling that story. Loved telling how she had the first story I ever wrote, too. Kept it in her cedar chest, still had it there. That was her recitative for me, her chant for Teddy. What do you get when you fall in love and my first story as a writer. That was her way of saying, "I know you. I remember you, growing up."
She was a tried and true cranky Yankee, of that there was no doubt. A tough old bird. She was a character and I love characters and this one certainly made her own unique mark on this world. She was fierce and independent and didn't take shit from anyone.
There's a lot to be said for that.