Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blank Canvas

Three tiers of cake, covered in white fondant...

Whatever will the future hold for them?

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Remember

I remember clearly the smell of her Coty lipstick and her Emeraude perfume.

Brushing my teeth with her cinnamon-flavored Close-Up toothpaste was almost as good as a trip to the candy aisle in the grocery store.

There was never a visit that didn't include sliced cantaloupe; the very thought makes my mouth water. I cut up four of them last week, and almost felt her there in the kitchen with me, just from the smell.

I miss her so very much.

Special occasions always included her angel food cake with her fluffy, white seven-minute frosting.

Breakfast was always, always, always silver-dollar pancakes. I've tried my whole life to make pancakes the size of hers, but mine always come out bigger.

I spent two weeks of every summer with her. It was a time of cartoons, talking late into the night, ice cream and pickles (to cut the sweet, of course), afternoon coffee at the local diner and visiting all her friends. She rarely sat at home with nothing to do.

If I were good (and she always thought I was!) she'd let me pick out a toy from HEB, or the Perry's store next door.

I remember making mud pies outside her front door and playing on the sidewalk with those tubes of colored rubber that blew up into balloons.

I remember Christmas decorations all over her tiny apartment: the doll-sized tree on the table in front of the window; the bowl of chewy peppermints next to it; the appliqued felt toilet seat cover with a jolly Santa Claus-- his green gloves hiding his eyes and his shocked mouth a cherubic "o" when the lid was up, and waving cheerily when the lid was down; the giant multicolored bulbs that decorated the outside steps annually.

I remember when I got my first speeding ticket. It cost $88, which was a fortune to me. She mailed me a check for $20, which was a fortune to her. She included a note that I should thank the policeman who ticketed me, since he may have saved my life.

I miss her so very much.

Years ago she ran into Garth Brooks in a store in Salado Springs, Texas. She told him that I was a huge admirer. She got an autograph and a hug for me. I still have the autograph, tucked away in a box, along with notes and cards from her. I can picture her handwriting, and the way she scrawled her name.

She was my soft place to land; my biggest fan; my most ardent defender.

I remember one time, years ago, when my stepsister was telling her about something bad I had done, hoping to get her angry at me. She interrupted, saying, "Tracye is my angel and I love her more than anything. In my eyes she can do no wrong, so I don't want to hear it."

Of course, she was wrong; I've done lots of things I shouldn't. Multitudes of things I regret. But it was such an honor and a comfort to know how highly she thought of me. She wouldn't let anyone come between us or put me down.

I miss her so very much.

When I was in college, she fell and broke her hip. After that, it was one health problem after another. She ended up having her leg amputated below the knee. She didn't let her health stop her from traveling four hours and sitting in the front row of my college auditorium, to see me perform in a musical. At the end of the performance, we all walked to the edge of the stage, still in character, and waved to the audience members, inviting them (but not really wanting them to come up) onstage with us.

She giddily yelled out, "Look! It's Tracye!" when I singled her out to wave to.

She lived another eight months after that.

Hubs and I got married on the one year anniversary of her death. It's a bittersweet day for me.

I miss her so very much.

She called, without fail, every Sunday night, just to chat about the week. I can still hear her voice. I can still remember her phone number, and have actually thought about dialing it, almost hoping some twilight-zone moment will cross my phone line with Heaven's, so I can talk with her one more time.

Some of my worst dreams are the ones with her in them, so real that when I wake up and reality slams into me that she's still gone, all I can do is cry.

She would have gotten such a kick out of her great grandchildren. She would have thought they hung the moon.

She would have been 98 today.

She died 14 years ago. In some ways it feels like I haven't hugged her in forever; in others it feels like I just saw her yesterday.

I wish it was yesterday.

I miss her so very much.