I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday hosted by Kate Motaung at Link-up – Five Minute Friday. Today’s prompt is “fresh.”
Given my determination to write more and play gin rummy on my phone less this year, I opened my Five Minute Friday email with anticipation this morning to see what our prompt was this week. I thought of some of the words that have been prompts over the last years that have inspired me, words like hope and view and listen. I was eager to see what today would hold.
Well, fresh is a good word. I guess. Lots of different meanings. The first thing that popped into my mind was new year = fresh start. But somehow 2021 doesn’t have that “fresh start” feel to it. It feels like 2020 v.2. Or maybe that’s just me. So even though I’m usually the family’s resident Pollyanna, I knew I couldn’t write up a “woo hoo fresh start” kind of post. Not yet anyway; maybe I’ll get my Pollyanna back and can do it soon.
In the meantime – fresh. Hmmm.
I sat in my chair, watching the snow fall and drinking coffee. Rocky wanted out, so I opened the door for him. “Oh,” I said (because, duh, I talk to my cat), “It’s fresh outside, Mr. Cat.”
That made me laugh. It’s what my grandpa used to say up in northern Illinois. We kids would be in the kitchen with Grandma helping (read: getting in her way) her bake something spectacular, and Grandpa would come in the back door, through the mud room and into the kitchen, take off his hat, shake his head so that his cheeks would flop back and forth and say, “Lucille, it’s fresh out there today.” That was her cue to pour him a cup of coffee and give him a big slice of whatever yummy was sitting around.
That got me thinking about my grandpa. I loved that man. Big old man with a bulbous nose and gigantic ears. That he could wiggle. I mean, like, they would wiggle. He could do one at a time, wiggle one and then the other and then the other and then… okay, you get it. Kept us kids entertained for hours. Or minutes.
His name was Ernest, but everyone called him Soapy. Even grandma. As I sat there thinking about sitting on Grandpa’s lap and watching him wiggle his ears, I tried to think back on how he got that nickname. Maybe I knew at some point but I couldn’t remember, so I texted my sister and asked if she knew. Nope. So I texted my cousin and asked her. She didn’t know but thought her mom, my Aunt Sonja, might.
Well, thinking Auntie, at 80-something, is probably not a big texter, I decided I’d call her, even though we hardly ever talk. She lives a few states away from me so I don’t get to see her much, either. She lives alone, and even though her son and his family are very close and take good care of her, with the pandemic she’s been very secluded, my cousin said, and she’s pretty lonely. So I called her.
She didn’t remember how Grandpa came to be called Soapy, but she and I had a lovely chat.
After I hung up it occurred to me that I didn’t know how Grandpa got his nickname because I never asked my mom while she was alive. It occurred to me that my Aunt Sonja was one of the last connections I had to my mom’s family (not counting my cousins, who are really more connections to me and my family, if you go generationally). It occurred to me that I’m not going to have Aunt Sonja forever. It occurred to me that we (I) so often neglect to cherish people we (I) love until they’re gone. We (I) take them for granted. I’ll call them later; I’ll get up there to see them next year.
But at some point there won’t be a later or a next year.
I have decided I will call her more often. At least a couple times a month. And because I know myself and I know I’ll look up next week and six months will have gone by, I set a reminder in my phone.
So maybe “fresh” means new start, or it’s cold out, or don’t get sassy with me, or be-sure-to-wear-fresh-underwear-in-case-you’re-in-an-accident, but it doesn’t mean any of those things to me today.
Today, to me, “fresh” means call your auntie.