This year's barbecue was actually held at his brother Scott's cookie-cutter McMansion, with the large pool and the row upon row of similar palatial monstrostrities squeezed in next to each other. Eh, the food is good, and Scott's wife Tina was really helpful with Ashes, who undwerwent surgery for removal of a cyst in her breast about a week ago (to our great relief, it's benign.)
Corb's grandmother, who has been in and out of the hospital and rehab facilities for almost a year now, was allowed out to visit. She came equipped with a wheelchair, walker, and oxygen tank. Getting her onto the deck was an ordeal in itself.
Every time I see her she seems more and more frail. The Parkinson's seems to be getting worse, and one of her fingers on her left hand seems to be drooping. Still, she seems to have a bit of fight left in her. We parked her in a shady spot next to her favorite food: salsa and a bowl of nachos. Tina placed a bottle of iced water next to her, so she would have something to sip.
I could tell she was having trouble, as she grabbed a few chips and valiantly tried to dip them into the salsa and bring them to her mouth.
"Want me to help?" I asked, making sure I spoke to her like an old friend rather than talking down to her. I hate it when people do that. She nodded, and I scooped the chips into the salsa and brought them to her mouth. I felt almost like a mother feeding a baby bird, except for the disgusting pre-chewing part of things.
"Can I get you anything else?" I asked, after four or five nachos.
"Yes," she said, eyeing the water jug next to her with disdain. "Can you get me a beer?"
"A beer it is," I said, smiling. Yes, that's the spirit.
A plastic glass filled with Bud light located. Glass brought to lips, her entire demeanor relaxed. It's amazing how a simple thing can serve to change the dynamics. Despite the discomfort she felt being carried onto the deck, the attention paid to her, the fuss that had made, there she was, kicking back a beer, feeling a bit less self-conscious, a little more normal for a few precious minutes.
I smiled and glanced at Corb's mom. "What a day," I said, and winked. "Nachoes, salsa, and a cold beer. If Ernest Hemingway were to drop in and hit on grandma, the day would be complete."
Diana shook her head, recognizing immediately one of her mother's favorite life stories. "If Ernest Hemingway were to drop by, I'd be more than a little worried."
Then, on to the burgers. These are the days to treasure.