60 Days On the Mat — Day 32: If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away


When I woke up this morning, this was in my inbox:

Willie Nelson PICNIC–NOT a parade.  Willie could have never stood up on July 4th long enough to have a parade.  

And not a picnic as in baskets and checkered table cloths–we are talking a Cotton Bowl-sized crowd wallowing around in a cow pasture picnic listening to hours and hours–and several hours more–of the best Outlaw Country of the Day.  A weekend extravaganza.  No “facilities” per se–sometimes a bank of 8′ plywood sheets leaned up against fence posts for “privacy”.  Truly an experience, but in living life forward, not one I ever had any desire to repeat.  Ask your dad–I am sure he has a few vivid memories of the occasion as well …

And I thought she never read my blog.

There was another line at the end there, but this is my story so I have edited it to protect the reputation of those not here to defend themselves (Dad).  Actually, I had already changed parade to picnic before I read her email.  I always reread the posts in the morning after I have some sleep.  When I saw the word parade, I laughed.  A Willie Nelson parade?  There is no visual for that.

I met Willie once … but I’ll save that for another blog.

My Gran Gran died seven years ago today.  He was 83.  It does not seem like only yesterday, but it also doesn’t feel like seven years.  My grandfather had a very dry wit.  I loved it when he would say something completely unassuming and then I would look at him and catch the sheepish grin come across his face.  This was especially funny to me when no one caught it except us — most especially when the joke was about Memom.  She never shut-up, making her an easy target.  He knew he was funny.  I knew he was funny.

I have a little bit of that in me, I think.

GranGran Reading to me

The paneling. The sofa. The retro high-chair.
One of the houses that built me.

I know my stories often seem like a sappy slice of the perfect idyllic childhood; if you’re thinking of a childhood right out of a Griswold-Clampett-esque painting.  If you’re Mawmaw wore a pink cowboy hat while driving a John Deere tractor, or your uncle accidentally spilled LSD on his poor Siamese cat (who was NEVER the same, by the way) while your Ward Cleaver-esque Gran Gran (see picture above) made your not-at-all June Cleaver-esque Memom breakfast in bed — you know exactly what kind of painting I’m talking about.

And now for the last sentence of my Mom’s email:

… or maybe not, as he and Willie did share a great love of the wacky weed.  

Sorry, Dad.  Never cut funny.  It’s funny.  I love how my Mom tries to pretend she went to the middle of a cow pasture for a picnic hosted by Willie Nelson–in the 70’s–and listened to Outlaw Country music for a WEEKEND, but only Willie and my Dad LOVED “wacky weed”.

Mom, seriously, I’m 43 now.

It was the 70’s, folks.  Don’t judge us.  We’re all lucky we made it out alive.

After yoga, I went directly to a juice bar.  I had to prove to my body I still knew what a fresh vegetable was.  It was so good, I almost ordered two.

When I got to Ellen’s class this afternoon I was a little nauseous.  I think it’s Erik’s peanut butter crunch cookies.  They’re addicting.  Also, they should not be eaten as lunch.

I really need to find the nearest wagon and get on it.  January 1st is right around the corner.

We started on our backs.  I tried to focus on moving and breathing through my nausea. By the time we went into our first forward bend I was feeling some relief.  I cut the jumping today, which helped.  My tight spots all live on my left side now.  I can feel it all releasing, but it didn’t get that way overnight, so it won’t completely release overnight. Once you start to feel the opening, you want it to go faster — but there is always a retreat after the opening, and the next time it opens a little more.

When I was in tree pose, I thought about Gran Gran.  I was losing my balance and I heard him say, C’mon, Tootles, you can do it.  And, I did.  I held all the balances today.  I know he wasn’t really talking to me, but sometimes it helps to hear their voice in your head. It’s comforting; like they’re still here.

My other grandfather died three months before I was born.  I look at pictures of him (he went by the initials RW) and I wish I could hear his voice.  I wonder what would he have called me?

All my grandparents had pet names for me:  Tootles, Tige, Miss. T.  Uncle David and Aunt Paula just calls me Toots.

Physical, genetic resemblance’s are easy to see when I look at pictures — but I am so curious if those other things that make you like your parents and grandparents are learned by being with them and copying them?  When I watched a video of the egg donor child (which I included in this post), she talks about looking nothing like her Mom, but having all of her mannerisms.

I think about my Mom; I have so many of her mannerisms; likes and dislikes, I don’t even know where to start; I am her not-so-mini me — I stand like my father; more social like my father; anxious getting to the airport like my father — I laugh at you when you think I should be serious (completely pissing you off), just like Mawmaw; I sneeze loud, just like Mawmaw (drives Jonathan nuts); I am spontaneous and impractical, just like Mawmaw — I have Gran Gran’s wit, I’ll be sitting there and you think I’m not listening or I’m bored and then suddenly I’ll have you on the floor laughing with one sentence  — I laugh just like my uncle  — I answer the telephone like Memom; I can be nosy, like Memom; I like my tea black with lemon, just like Memom; I like breakfast in bed, like Memom … but I think that’s because Gran Gran would serve both of us that way when I slept over.

Is the milk addiction genetic, or did they just give me a lot of milk?

These are questions that I wonder about, but do not keep me up at night.

When I think about all of these things, it makes me smile.  I know that our child–I will hopefully carry via egg donation–will be just as much a part of me as I am of my Mom, my Dad, Mawmaw, Gran Gran, Uncle David, Memom.  My major childhood influences; in that order, I think.

They do say it’s 70% environment and 30% genetics.  I know this is on my mind, as I get ready for my doctor’s appointment in the morning.  Despite my desire NOT to over think it — I am.  At least now it is from an excited place and not an anxious one.

In our final floor stretch sequence, my hips were starting to let go.  I thought about Gran Gran’s last email to me.  I had sent him some CSI DVD sets that I had received for free when I was working at G4TV.

Thank you very much little Tootles.  Gee, it’s so nice to have a granddaughter working in Hollywood who can get all sorts of things like this.  It is very useful to me, helping me to enjoy my waking up hours.  I enjoy watching CSI.  In fact, I enjoy watching almost anything, not everything, but anything.

It sure was nice having you visit with us recently.  We were in Hawaii when you were born and I took you on several trips during the two weeks we remained.  I believe you liked going out with me.  You would lay there asleep, seldom did you fuss, but when you did I had a bottle ready for you.  

Well, big girl.  Thanks again for the years pictures of CSI NY.  I’ll see you again someday.  Love, Gran Gran.  

He died almost two months to the day after that email was written.  Two days after writing this, he got a urinary tract infection and, basically, lost his mind.  This is the only time he ever signed an email see you again someday … he wrote me emails all the time, never did he get sentimental about my birth.  I think he knew his body was shutting down.

Two days before Memom died she told me Gran Gran and Aunt Marie had visited her in dreams that week.

Mawmaw died after my Mom hugged her and told her it was ok to go … and she went while my Mom was out of town.

I miss them all every day, even the one I didn’t get to meet.

Oh, if Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.

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