The first snow of the season in the pacific northwest, Portland, Oregon came with a gentle push 3 hours north and came down with a force later that night while most of the people were asleep. I know it started up north because I was up on the verry tip of the country where the gentle salt water curves and hides among the intricate edges of the shore. I was in a little town called Port Townsend mostly up on the hill where the hospital is. The hospital room has a pretty view of all this water and land, the boats floating calmly in the harbor, the neighboring islands stationed deep in the water.
My Gradpa is 96 now and on the 3rd floor. He went through a 6 hour surgery just the other day and pulled out of it better than I would have guessed. He was hungry and talkative but deaf as an empty room. You can yell as loud as you want but he wont hear you. Next to him is a little purple lined notebook, pages filled with lines longing to be comminicated like " i love you", " have you gotten out of bed?" and "Nelson Mandella Died today." These are the ends of the conversations being documented. His ends are floating over his head and out the door living on only in my faulty excuse of a memory. My memories are unreliable unless I write them down or take their picture.
His girlfriend came to visit. I talked to her for a while as though we had met before but I'm not sure we ever had. She patted his head and kissed him and showed me her cains. She uses two, and one was the same cain her Grandfather used when he was an old man in Germany. She remembers waltsing with him and his cain. She mentioned in passing her childhood in Panama, but was quick tempored in reply to any questions I asked. I don't know this woman who is sititng at my Grandfathers bedside, I get the feeling he does not either but when you are nearing the last years of your life on a small Island you may long for a companion. And that is why she is here.
I am here because this is my mothers father. I spent summers up at their house, playing with Rosy the dog, eating the apples from the orchard and holding onto the electric fence with my cousins for thrills. I am here because of all the fond memories collected down on the waters edge. Birthday cakes blown out behind the wind guards of driftwood and handfulls of treasured rocks of green yellow and blue filling my pockets on the drive home.