On the couch with Oliver who’s beneath my feet, stretched out like he’s waiting for his next trick, I hear farts. I smell farts. Very clear. Loud. Forget the smell….not going there. But it brings me back to a very early childhood memories of my grandma Elsie. My mom’s step-mom whom I always thought was my real grandma. Turns out my mom’s real mom, Ethel (same name as my paternal grandma…must’ve been like the “Madison” of the 1890s) died when she was 34 & mom was only a teen. My grampa Sam remarried Elsie & she’s all I knew. Loved her to death. She visited from Washington heights every weekend & I’d see her from the 4th floor window & run down the stairs in my socks & meet her on the street & carry her bag & she’d tell me we have all the time in the world & then we’d eat & watch All in the Family or Lawrence welk. My teen brother would take the couch or stay out for the nite & Elsie would take his half of the pull out bed, and I’d sleep next to her in the other. The perfect evening always ended with me hearing her mumble prayers & whispering to her newly dead husband. “gavult”, she’d sigh & I was not sure if I should be saddened by her pain or awed by her ritual. In any case, she’d fart. Shameless and natural, and surely unaware that I was awake & bearing witness to this private time, she’s blow them out by the minute until snoring took over. Then she’s fart some more. We need to examine this dog’s diet. But for now, I revel in the opportunity to think about my grandma Elsie. The nice stuff. Sweetest woman. She’d be awed by where I live. By her great grandkids. She’d be destroyed by the gruesome facts of my parent’s later life. Of my brother’s demise. She’d listen to every word of every song and ask me to explain lines I don’t even fully understand. She’d love me for being me, just like she did for the very short time I knew her. Some farts aren’t just gross kid moments, but ice- breakers and equalizers and objects of centering and of humility.
Thanks, Oliver….diet change coming.