Grandmama's House

Delta Nagele

Delta Nagele

Untouched. Nostalgia. At first glance it appears the same, the same as it once was when its walls were filled with laughter. The stucco is still pink, the front door still a shiny honey-colored varnish, the roof the original white tiles, but nothing is the same. 
She is no longer here. She no longer tells detailed eccentric stories. Her grocery list in her beautiful flowing penmanship no longer hangs on the fridge. She hasn't called me Dallin' in years (that is "Darling" with a southern twang). Her hugs no longer felt. Her Vaseline has been put away. Her oatmeal no longer fills the counter canisters. The bubble gum machine, empty. Rubber flip flops in every grandchild's size no longer lining the back door entry. Creamy cheese grits that used to simmer on the gas stove, gone. Sunny side up eggs perfectly posed in the cast iron skillet, gone. Her dressing table cleared, no longer cluttered with bottles of sweet-smelling potions. 
Saturday nights were spent curling and setting her silver hair so it would be "just so" for church on Sunday. Hairpins kept in a plastic box, always on hand. Sunday mornings were spent meticulously dressing for church, choosing the right jewelry after retrieving that certain pocketbook in the closet. The jewelry was stashed there in the event of a home burglary. No one would look for expensive jewelry in a spare pocketbook tossed in the closet. Clever!
She liked predictability, expectations that were rarely unfulfilled. Routines filled every corner. First wipe the fan blades, lastly mop the floors. So many lessons taught and learned in this space. Everything had a home, a place where it would always be found. Everyone had a home, a place where they would always be welcomed.
Wipe your feet, slip off your shoes. Feel the cool terrazzo on your soles. Come sit in the Florida room. Floor to ceiling windows. Watch the key limes drop from the tree. Come, let's collect them and make some key limeade. Don't forget your flip flops; those thorns can be painful.  Now roll them and slice them, squeeze them in the pitcher. Six is enough and a half-cup of sugar. Stir and pour. Sip and chat. Tell me your dreams. 
She loved to talk, to listen, and she always had time. She was never too busy. Grandmama, can I come over? It was always a "yes".
And while she'll never been seen again, never be touched again, all is not lost. My memories remain. Her love remains.

Delta A. Nagele is a Palm Beach County native. She can often be found laying at the pool typing up stories for redundant revisions later. She is a paralegal by day, but her most important role is as "Aunt Delta" to her five nieces and nephews.

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