Sep 21, 2011

Fracture


My grandmother broke her wrist last week. I shared this news with my husband's 94-year old grandmother the other night—because she never leans in to hug me hello and I was trying to remind her that I am some granny's grandchild—but when she asked how it happened, I stumbled, mumbled something about eggs, magpies, henshit, and haircurlers, and all notions of warm hugs and noodle-pudding recipes fell flat, like the look on her face. She had wanted a slipped-and-fell response. She's wanted that from me since we first met fifteen years ago and I was *pregnant with her first great-grandchild. 

My mother sent me a text message last week to say that Nana had "broken her wrist while she was out getting the eggs and the magpie was around." I immediately saw my grandmother in her headscarf and wellies, trying to duck into the hobbit-sized hen shed while saluting a solitary magpie who taunted her with his one-for-sorrow curse from a nearby fence. I wondered if she cursed the "blashted magpie" right back as she fell, and if she broke any eggs—precious fuel for her daily scones and barter for her monthly hair-do.
I rushed to write her a letter to distract from the fall, the way a parent of a toddler rushes to point out a dent in the ground to distract from a bloodied knee. I didn't want her to notice that her bones could break, that—despite being an amazing piece of natural engineering—eggshells are actually pretty fragile, that waving at a magpie doesn't guarantee joy. So I reminded her that it's a big deal that her small bone heals: An Post would collapse without her steady stream of letters to deliver to and from the United States and Australia, the hairdresser would go hungry without her monthly batch of eggs, and I would go daft if we had to communicate by phone ... so, she had better sort out that wrist and fast.
I just wish that I could slip and fall into the envelope along with my tears.

*And how did I get pregnant with her first great-grandchild? Well, it's a long story that involves eggs and magpies, henshit and haircurlers ...

7 comments:

mise said...

Jacinta, you come from a wonderful family. It's no wonder you can write with that sort of spirit in your genes.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

What a gorgeous post. Get well soon, Nana!
Those damn west of Ireland magpies. My husband (a Dub like myself) swears since he moved west he sees hundreds more single magpies everywhere.

Jacinta said...

Thanks Mise—there's definitely no shortage of spirit in the family! And Nuala, it's no secret that the magpies flock west where there is more of a penchant for sorrow and drama. Make sure your husband is waving at them (just not while he's collecting eggs!) Thx for well wishes!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

J - have you seen this:

http://www.stingingfly.org/news/events-news-stinging-fly-new-york

Wiah I could be there too - boo hoo ;)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

'Wish', even. Sigh.

Jacinta said...

I know, I saw it on FB this morning. I wiah (and wish) you could go, too, so we could have a pint together and I could hide behind you and just soak in all the words and magic. I ordered their NY issue this am and will definitely plan to be in a cozy corner in Swifts on the Thursday; I might even try to catch the other two nights, too. Thx for thinking to share the link!

Mary K said...

That * comment should also include the enviornmental factors of the pint of Guinness and the rougish wink!!

Hope Nana is on the mend

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