Last week two 5-alarm fires swept through downtown Baltimore, drawing hundreds of firefighters to each. It was the kind of thing my grandmother liked to talk about, although it'd been thirty or more years since she'd been in the vicinity of either the Inner Harbor or Mount Vernon. She liked to stay home. Part of me always thought it was her shame at people perceiving her to be uneducated. She left school in the eighth grade to take care of her siblings. Or maybe it was the sixth, depending on which of us she had told the story to. We used to joke about the time she went to a restaurant with my family in the seventies and asked for a whiskey. The waiter asked her if she wanted it on the rocks. "What the hell do I want rocks in my drink for?" She demanded. We just laughed at that story. But I wonder now how she felt when we told it.
She always used to say family was the most important thing to her. I believe it to be true. And if it happened in her living room or the kitchen, it was important to her as well. She didn't like visiting new places, and she'd never flown. I always will remember her standing by her front door, commenting on her neighbors, watching the world pass her by.
Sometimes, when are you standing at the door you are just waiting for the right moment. Today, she stepped outside. She became bigger, bigger than the world and it finally fit into her living room and into the palm of her hand. And she flew away.
Safe journeys, Grandma. Thank you for everything.