Since it’s the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, here’s one of his stories.
As Papa tells me this one, we’re in his kitchen. He’s holding court at the little table across from the sink.
“I went 28 years without a car,” he says. “I always walked to work. I’d walk to work no matter how bad the weather was. There were days Nana would let me out to go for work but wouldn’t let the cat out.”
We all laugh.
“I used to walk up to St. Rita’s hospital to see Nana,” he says.
“Oh,” I say, “did she work there? I didn’t know that.”
“She worked there for a little while. But she was up there every year anyway, to have babies. The nurses used to say to her, ‘See you again next year, Mary!’”
Nana cackles. “I didn’t go every year!”
“Almost!” he says.
We all laugh again. I love Nana’s laugh.
“Anyway,” Papa says, “Donnie MacGillivray across the street was about my age, when we were young he had a crush on Nana. Years later, when we already had nine kids, Donnie was at the legion one night, and he wanted to buy me a drink. Someone asked him, ‘Why do you want to buy a drink for MacLeod?’ ‘For marrying Mary Theresa,’ he said. ‘If I’d married her, what a mess I’d be in now! MacLeod saved my life!’”
Laughter, again. Laughter always and forever.