yesterday, katie and i took baby jake to meet his great-great-grandmother. i had a camera tucked in my bag but didn't use it, because predictably, my grandmother was in full invalid form. lying in her bed with her pink hair net askew, wearing a raspberry-checked flannel housecoat that she insisted in exchanging for a bathrobe with a broken zipper, she reminded me of those pen and ink sketches of the slums of 18th century london. since there was no sense in presenting jake with a memory he'd only shudder with relief that he was too young to remember, i decided i could only sear the event into my memory.
jake was as engaging as a three week old baby can be - he pooped, cried, fussed, burped, spit up on me, ate, and bobbed his head. even katie was astonished by the resemblance between the living jake and the photo of the ancient newborn who once was me. when he cried, my grandmother said... walk him. just walk him a little bit. he'll be fine.
at one point, katie looked at her and laughed and said, how far are we supposed to walk him, roey?
my grandmother looked blank. then she smiled. as far as it takes, she said.
i remembered both my parents relating tales of late night marathons around the living room in the flickering blue-gray flare of the black and white tv. i was a night owl from birth. and in my grandmother's parchment voice, i heard an ancient echo: walk her...just walk her... walk her a little bit. she'll be fine.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.