Kick-off

When I was looking for flights out of the country, I figured it would be appropriate to fly out of Boston so I could make a quick visit to the Cape and see my family. Man, I make good decisions sometimes. Though I always manage to only be home for a day or two, and have to rush through my time there and spread it thin, it still always feels really good.

This time was a little weird for me. Hopefully it didn’t show too much — I hate to be that person who ruins the fun — but it was the first time since my grandmother’s funeral that I hung out on the Cape. I kept expecting to see Gma in her chair by the fireplace, watching Judge Judy, but she wasn’t there.

Other things have changed, too. The Yarmouth House has a new menu. Panera doesn’t sell Jones soda anymore. The chipmunk has moved his hole to the other side of the backyard, and the grass under the red maple tree is thinning.

But the crows are still there, and the turkeys, too. And the beach. And Keltic Kitchen is every bit as perfect. And my mom and my Grandad are still there. And we still have to squish around a long table when the entire family comes for dinner.

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I went walking on the beach this morning, and encountered two women walking their dogs. As soon as they hit the sand, one of the dogs made a beeline for the water. Her owner was not pleased. “Dixie!” she yelled, annoyance crossing her face. “Dixie!” I left them for a few minutes, squishing my toes in the sand and taking in the salt air and throwing not-quite-seaglass back into the water. When I started coming back up the shore, the women and their dogs were still there. Dixie was still wading. “Dixie!” cried her owner. Dixie sat down with a splash.

I had to laugh. Let Dixie be Dixie, I wanted to say. She’s a dog; dogs like to play in the water. Let her be a dog. Enjoy how she frustrates you — don’t take it for granted — because it’s who she is, and it won’t be constant. One day, she may not be around anymore, and you’ll have an empty chair by the fireplace that you won’t know what to do with.

My Grandad will finally be undergoing heart surgery sometime within the next few weeks. He’s normally such an active person, and he’s getting so tired of being tired; hopefully this surgery will help a little with that. But it has its risks. I told him as I left this morning to take it easy, that I loved him, and that I’d see him soon.

And then I visited my Grandma’s grave, and updated her on Grandad’s surgery plans; that was one of the things she asked about even in the last few days. And I cleared the twigs off her nameplate, told her I missed her, I loved her, and I’d see her soon.

And now I’m boarding a plane to Romania.

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