#380: Thoughts About a Banana and Life
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I was going to go to bed early and read. But at 10 p.m. the dogs wanted out and I was hungry so I fixed a bowl of cereal and began cutting a banana to go on it. That took me back 11 years when my brother's oldest son, Bobby, was five and used to spend a lot of time with my mom and me.
He and I would make up stupid jokes and poems and mispronounce words and call things by different names like feetloaf for meatloaf and smashed taters for mashed potatoes and torn for corn. He still remembers those things. And we both remember that I was the first one to show him how to crunch up crackers in his tomato soup and to call it cram chowder because we'd see how many crackers we could cram into it. And I was the first to show him how to cut up a banana to put on his cereal.
Fun times, especially for me since I never had children of my own. Now he is 16 and we don't see that much of each other anymore, nor does he email or call very often. I admit I am saddened by this but am happy he recalls the fun times we had. He asked me a while back if I had learned to play Crazy Eights, the card game, because when he and Mom played, I walked by and told him to ask her if she had any 87s. He said in an exasperated tone, "They don't have any 87s." "What about 53s?" I asked, and on and on until he got frustrated and told Mom, "Grandma, Uncle Louie doesn't know how to play Crazy Eights, does he?"
Still, the regret lingers that there has been no little one to take his place. His younger brothers never spent much time with Mom so I didn't see them often and still don't, even though they live only 20 minutes away. But they are growing up and Mom has been gone for six years and they don't understand the need for family closeness as we grow older. Perhaps one day 40 or 50 years from now they will realize that time has passed them by and some of us will have passed on. Perhaps, too, their children, if they have any will lead isolated lives and then my nephews will appreciate how precious it could have been spending time with relatives.
I regret never having had the chance to teach a son or daughter things of life and watch as they discover the wonders of the world or to play games with or to make up dumb jokes and poems with or to show how to crumble crackers in soup. And no one to show how to cut up a banana for cereal.
But each time I have soup or cereal I think back to those couple of years when Bobby was young and playful and inquisitive and let his sense of humor show and I remember how much fun we had.