April 21st, 2015
Yesterday morning, I cleaned off the white board on which I write the day & date for Jean. It is a new board, by Crayola, which does not work as well as the old & demands a great deal of attention to clean & maintain.
I leave the board blank, & go off to the kitchen to fix Jean’s breakfast.
When I return, Jean tells me:
April 21st in Barbara’s birthday.
I serve Jean her breakfast of eggs & a side of strawberries & then yogurt & blueberries. And then I change the date on the demanding white board & I check the veracity of Aunt Barbara’s birth date.
According to my Uncle Mansel’s book: A Texas in Australia, my Aunt Barbara, the next to youngest of my grandparent’s nine children, was born on April 21st.
Of course, because so much of what is about me in Uncle Mansel’s book is wrong, I decide I trust Jean’s memory.
April 23rd, 2015
This afternoon, I decide to ask Jean to talk about her sister Barbara. And then I notice her nails & remember that I need to cut them & file them down.
I am a failure at manicures – my own nails are a testament to that fact. I believe in nail salons the way I believe in dry cleaners to launder shirts & training sons to do their own ironing. But I cut Jean’s nails & I file them in my inept way.
Jean thanks me, my nails feel better, she says & then her eyes wander to the shelves next to her bed that contain books & supplies & movies & I ask her if she would like to listen to some music.
I think that would be nice.
So I pull out Carole King’s Tapestry & when I Feel the Earth Move under my Feet blares out, Jean’s feet & legs & arms begin to move to the music & she smiles.
So, later, I will ask Jean to give me her favorite memory of Aunt Barbara.
Right now, she is still feeling the earth move under her feet.