Very old. Suddenly she is 94. Before that, though, she was fine. She would talk and say words like critter and varmint. She's the first grandmother I ever knew who didn't talk English with an accent.
Lillian came from Michigan. She had five children, one of whom died at the age of three. That was more than 60 years ago. She talks about it all the time. She has seen so much. Sometimes when she would sit by the fire I would wonder how she was able to assimilate it all-the telephone and the radio and the television and jet planes. All of it. There was none of that when she first married-maybe a telephone or two-but there was a tree up at the corner. One day they took it down and she talked endlessly about it. A tree. Who outlives a tree any more?
This year Lillian fell. She can no longer live alone and something will have to be done with her apartment. The nursing home costs a fortune and the rent is too much, and so the children and grandchildren have been asked if they want her furniture. But the grandchildren have mostly moved away. One is in Cleveland and one is teaching in Arizona, and one is in California. Another grandson is in Indianapolis and a grand-daughter is in Washington. I am married to her.
The snow has stopped now. Up and down the street everything is white and still, the houses decorated for Christmas. Up and over the hill, the mansions of the rubber barons are beatiful in the snow and down on the street a man jogs by, leaving footprints after him. Already preparations are being made for the trip home. The first of the children is leaving for Indianapolis. Soon, we will all be gone. Soon, it will all be gone.