I can't sleep. And when I first woke up, I tried to meditate a little...tried to imagine I was somewhere peaceful without a dog on my head...and I conjured up this vivid memory of when my sister and I were young and would spend the night at my grandparents' house on a Saturday night. I don't want to forget this, so I'm etching it here...to do something with it someday.
Before bed (but after the Lawrence Welk Show) we would study our Sunday School lesson while Granddaddy prepared to teach his Sunday School class the next morning. He always sat in the living room to do this - in the chair closest to the front door. I would spread out on the floor as close to him as I could get without actually sitting in his lap and watch him study more than I would actually study myself. I would wonder what he must be like in that class, teaching a group of his peers. He was a quiet man, and it was hard for me to imagine him speaking in front of a crowd although I knew he was bright and articulate. It was a stretch for me to see him as a serious person because with us he was silly and funny and always laughing. I didn't call him "Granddaddy" until much later in life. I called him by his first name which was "Wilbur." We suppose I did this because I was the first grandchild and I heard everyone else calling him "Wilbur," and started saying it myself before anyone taught me a different name for him.
Before bed, I would watch as my grandmother went through her meticulous beauty ritual. She would slather this thick white cream (I thought it was just about the grossest thing I had ever seen) all over her face. To this day, I blame that smell for my dislike and inconsistent use of moisturizers. The most hysterical part of her routine was how she carefully wrapped her hair in long rolls of toilet tissue before donning what I think now must have been a shower cap? I'm sure I pointed out to her that I thought this was ridiculous. And I'm sure she didn't care what I thought. Betty did her hair every Friday morning and Gran Gran had to work hard to make sure it still looked nice on Sunday morning. When we moved my grandmother out of her house and into an assisted living facility a few years ago, my cousins and I got the biggest laugh about the thick layer of Aqua Net that was caked on the shower curtain in the pick bathroom. You could tell exactly where Gran Gran stood every morning to plaster down that do. I'm not sure why I called her "Gran Gran," but that name started with me and is what we all (family and friends alike) call her today.
We slept in the front bedroom - the pink room with the pink bathroom. And when it was warm, we slept with the windows open and the big attic fan in the hall would suck in what seemed like all of the air in the whole entire neighborhood. You could barely hear the crickets over the sound of the fan. And if you listened really closely, you could hear the train at about midnight. I would lie awake for what seemed like hours listening to the things that I swear I never heard at our house even though we lived only a few miles away.
And then I would wake up to the smell of Granddaddy's scrambled eggs and toast. I remember thinking that I was sure there would be scrambled eggs and toast in Heaven. And that he would be the one cooking for all of us fortunate enough to be in Heaven. See, even then I was trying to make sense of this whole life after death thing...trying to figure out what could possibly be better than the life I had at that moment here on earth. So anyway, in Heaven there are no Pop-Tarts. No Alpha-Bits. Just Wilbur's scrambled eggs and toast.
And then we would get dressed and head to Sunday School. (That's the happily ever after part, I guess.)
I doubt I knew then that I would never forget those sounds and smells. I doubt Gran Gran and Wilbur knew then that they were writing those memories on my heart.