My Grandmother’s Gift to Me
One night, I dreamt that my granny was lying on her couch and I was sitting beside her, and I knew in my dream that she was dying. It was the couch in her living room, where she napped after fixing me Sunday supper for the first twelve years of my life. Where her school picture hung, forever portraying her as a seven-year-old girl with blond hair and serious eyes. An aerial photograph of their house hung above the couch, showing the gardens, the root cellar, the henhouse, the creek that flowed down the field behind their house and met up with Mill Branch. It captured the home and the land at its best — tranquil, well kept.
When I woke up from my dream, I called Granny — I was certain that it was an omen, a sign from whoever’s in charge of signs these days. Without telling her my dream, I asked how she was doing and tried to pry beneath her standard very well response. She had had a kidney infection, she said, but the doctor gave her some medicine, and she thought it was almost gone. She was supposed to go to the hospital in Lexington to have a pacemaker inserted, but she didn’t have a ride and would probably cancel her appointment.
What? What do you mean, you don’t have a ride? I asked. Granny explained that my dad couldn’t take her; he either didn’t have a car or had something else to do — and besides, his driving scared her too much anyway. Her other son could not take her — he was in prison by this time, serving a forty-eight-year sentence for murder. Her daughter could not take her — she did not drive. And none of her other relatives could do it — none of her grandchildren, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters-in-law — nobody. So she would have to cancel, she said.
By this time, I was teaching part time at a university, had given birth to a girl, and was again a single mother. I told Granny I would take her to her appointment, though it meant I would have to cancel a class I was teaching that day and, to get Granny to Lexington by eight in the morning, I would have to find child care for my one-year-old daughter so that I could leave my house by five thirty. Then I would need to take my daughter home until Granny was ready to go back to Morehead, when I would pick up Granny in Lexington and make the drive eastward once again, then southwest an…