Thursday, June 24, 2004

"You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do..."

—excerpt from A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

My grandmother died a few days ago.

This was a woman with hardly a vice, a woman always pleasant and warm, who baked cookies and cakes and begged you to eat them. I loved her so much.

When I was a boy, she lived in a house next to a park where I played, down the street from the school where I learned, across the block from a penny candy store where I bought pixie sticks for a penny apiece, and wax lips and Zotz and a million kinds of candy they don't make anymore.

Once I ran away from a Patrol Guard boy, and in those days the Patrol Guards took their job seriously; they would capture you and take you for punishment if you broke the rules, so you hated them and their shiny yellow belts. I ran from this guard all the way to my grandmother's house—I was fast like lightning then. The Patrol Guard boy was right behind me, but my grandmother opened the door and made him go away with his tail between his skinny little white legs.

My grandmother was my hero.

At christmas-time we would go over to her house and my grandfather would drink his Strohs and smoke his pipe and my grandmother would do everything else: prepare and serve the food, clean up our messes, listen to our stories and laugh, ask us if we wanted another Coke. Those were the best times.

They are gone now. She is gone now, a great lady, the best there was.


Post a Comment

<< Home