Genevieve is my Grandmother. She is feisty, tough and one mean Italian cook. I spent a lot of time with her when I was young and she taught me a bunch of important things including the finer points of washing and drying dishes. She is a saver, having lived through the great depression, and to this day I think my thriftiness comes from her. She loves to paint and once painted a portrait of our dog Max who has since passed away. And she is spry - she can easily out bike any of us and long walks down the river road where you beg for mercy make her laugh. She’s smart too, check out her and my Grandfather hacking away back around 2000:
Not long ago, I visited Genevieve and my Grandfather down the little river road where they retired and live to this day. My Mom was also there and one afternoon we decided to take a walk in the sun down the river road. Its a beautiful day for a walk and I’ll never forget coaxing her into going. She’s a little confused at first but once we get rolling she loves it.
Its late afternoon and the sun is shining bright but its at a low angle now so its not hot. The air is just starting to get that tinge of coolness that comes on in the North towards the end of the day (this is northern Pennsylvania). That day my Mom and I hold Genevieve’s hands to help her take the walk. And its funny, because at some point in your life - and I can’t really pinpoint it - you go from holding young hands (your new wife, your young kids, etc.) to holding old ones. But the important thing here is that her hands are soft and warn and you don’t realize this until you hold them.
We walk to a little bridge and stand there looking at the swirls in the water flowing underneath. And we see the life there - tadpoles mainly but little fish too. And we look around at the trees which are big and full and green. Genevieve is getting a little tired now so we take baby steps back to the house. She jokes with us and we talk about a few of the neighbor’s houses on the way back. It has been a good walk together. I’m so happy we took it even though Genevieve doesn’t really remember me now.
Gen (my Grandfather gets to call her Gen) is in this great photo with my Grandfather and my kids from a few years back. They have a swing overlooking the river where they like to sit and watch the world go by:
She has faded away over the last few years because of Alzheimer’s but Genevieve has done as well as anyone and better than most. I know her still the way she is, and always will be for me, as the person I described at the top of this post.
I love you Grandma, I hope I said it enough to you over the years but somehow, right now, it doesn’t feel like I did.
Donate to the Alzheimer’s Association HERE.