My grandmother’s best friend is 97. My grandmother, who is quite mobile but mostly blind, is 93; Juanita^*^ has limited mobility but can see better than most people half her age. They go out together, Juanita driving, my grandmother helping Juanita walk, then they have lunch together and gossip about people long gone, reminiscing together about the scandals and achievments that once excited and amused them. Listening to them, it’s like fans watching a favorite movie again, appreciating new details of every scene even as it’s replayed the forty-seventh time.
Tonight I met one of Juanita’s sons and his wife. Now, I’d always thought highly of Juanita, but seeing what a good man her son is certainly made me think even more highly of her. Family is really the legacy that most people leave, and it’s wonderful to see such a special legacy. Juanita and her son clearly are quite close, he looking up to her and she filled with pride in him.
Her son’s wife is also an exceptional example. A deeply religious woman (she told us that she once was going to clean out her husband’s workshop, but God told her to accept her husband and seek harmony in their relationship), she loves to cook, just like her mother-in-law. She also has a ready laugh and even all of the small physical habits and tics of the beautiful, flirtatious woman she once must have been.
How is it that families and people grow from being together the way they do? I’ve seen this kind of a relationship as I grew up and I dream of having one of my own.
–* Don’t ask me how a child of Danish immigrants got the name Juanita–