Recently, I sat with Mom as she ate lunch. The new resident, M., sat down next to me. I was enjoying the ’50s music that was playing: Rock Around the Clock, Blueberry Hill, Yakety Yak, and I began to croon: “Ah got mah thri-i-il ON Blueberry Hi-il,” “I’m gonna ROCK. AROUND. THE CLOCK. TONIGHT,” “Yakety yak–DON’T TALK BACK!” M. looked at me with disgust. “You’re showing off,” she said reprovingly. Then, stern eyes on me, she announced my diagnosis: “You’re a show-off!”
“I know it. I am a show-off. My parents didn’t like it, but I can’t help it, I’m just a show-off.” I began to sing again, louder this time. “A-don’t be cruel, to a heart that’s true…..” M. looked at me again and laughed. “You ARE a show-off,” she said, this time with delight. “That I am,” I said, and we laughed again. This made up, a little, for the day Mom hushed me, and it hurt my feelings (usually I just turn down my volume and go on, but that day, it hurt). Nope, my parents do not approve of loud-mouth show-offs, but I enjoy stories aloud, singing, and a little fun, and I just can’t help it if it gets loud sometimes. I hope I get some of this penchant for entertainment from my beloved Great-Aunt Connie. She would delight the family with her funny stories and antics, until her reserved husband John, uncomfortable, would say, “That’s enough, Connie, that’s enough.” Those two proved that you can’t and can label Swedes as somber, somewhat humorless folk–both Connie and John were 100% Swede, but could not have been more different. It was never long before Aunt Connie would get going again, and the fun was back.
I showed off again today, but this time because I was pleased to bring my son, A., and heart-of-my-heart granddaughter, E. to Bickford She delighted all the people who saw her, and she did very well meeting people. She particularly wanted to show my parents a picture of the grandmother of Little Red Riding Hood who was ALL TIED UP! E. and I spent quite awhile last night going over and over the reason Grandma was tied up, the perfidy of the wolf trying to fool LRRH, and his ouster at the hand of Miss Hood’s solicitor (read THE JOLLY POSTMAN to see why this makes sense). Mom was very good, was suitably appalled by the wolf’s behavior. E. was comfortable enough to explain the whole shocking story. I was able to show off my dear son and granddaughter to a number of friends at Bickford and I was proud as could be.
My bubble popped as my son’s family pulled out of the driveway on their way to the airport to fly home. I smiled as they backed the car out, and felt my face crumpling–unexpected tears, though why I should be surprised that I wept, I don’t know. The three of them, my husband and I just came home last night from six great days at the family cottage, where I got to spend great amounts of time playing with E., an imaginative 3-year-old. We did a lot of doll play, where the children were frequently sick, the mothers chopped their legs and needed stitches, and the baby lay in a splendid pink crib. There was swimming, dune-climbing, visits to the Lake Michigan beach, rocks thrown and rocks kept, and, of course, ice cream! It’s hard to come back from such close contact and not feel a BIT blue, I guess. But ah, the showing off? With and for E? Therein lies the fun.