08 June 2008

"Now that's something."

His voice, round and cheery, is over my shoulder this morning. And I think it too when I stand on the Transbay bus to get a gander of the new bridge. It looks ready, complete with speed limit signs and benches, but ends abruptly 1/4 mile from Treasure Island.

San Francisco is glowing at 7:42. "That's a beautiful city. Just beautiful."

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My grandfather visited twice in my 13 years here. Once we toured the wharf and then jetted off to Alaska- just the 2 of us. Once we met at SFO. He and his 86 year old bride were on a layover. They were heading home from a Hawaii honeymoon. Melvin had a way of getting around. He was an elevator repairman who knew how to save. We talked weekly until he died. But he is still everywhere.

This week I watched a young woman and an old man sorting out details after a fender bender. She was on her cell phone while he waited at the hood of his car. He had his manual open, registration and insurance card at the ready. My guess was it was her first accident, and his first in many, many years. I wanted to go to the double yellow line, ask if they needed any help, but I was stuck on the curb with both kids and a doll's stroller. The kids and I were walking to school. We had paused at the FedEx and UPS drop off boxes, and they were opening and closing the slots. I was about to stop them when I was overcome. That was Melvin there, prepared for anything at 93. Most likely a reassuring presence for the young gal (although in private, he would complain about her ruining his paint, how she didn't know how to drive). It was the way he just waited, rested his hand on the hood. I waited for Stella to ask why I was crying, prepared myself for her little voice, "Old Pop Pop died." But the kids kept on opening and closing the mail flaps, and I stood in his presence, sad and content until the moment passed.


Between work, food prep, exercise, and games of chase, there isn't much space left for memory that stops me in my tracks. The joy and stress of daily life are so noisy. Often I can't hear my feelings. A day or week even, can pass so quickly I don't realize what I've missed. Paying a parking ticket. Scheduling a sitter. A page of emails. My grandmother's birthday. This week was one of my busiest in months. In addition to the usual, I went to Vallejo for half a day and SF for a 3 day conference on antepartum and intrapartum management. But in the journeys (walking, riding the bus), there was enough quiet to receive the visits from the man I miss so very much.
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