Strange things happen in this world. Some make us laugh, some make us cry, some make us gasp in horror and some make us wistfully nostalgic.
This is the story of an ordinary woman who was born, lived for many years and then, as we all do, died. No monument has been erected in her honor. No likeness of her stands in public a place. You will never read about her in a magazine, nor will you celebrate a holiday created just for her.
But those of us who knew her, tell not of an ordinary woman, but of a remarkable woman who experienced an extraordinary ill-fated love story.
Her name was Maggie Sinclair and she was my grandmother.
For as long as I can remember, I called her Mippy. I spent summers at her house and I always looked forward to my visits. I remember Mippy being a jovial, carefree, vociferous woman but I never really understood what her life was about until I got much older.
I remember the single rose that lived in a small glass vase, sitting on her kitchen table. Mippy told me that I could look at it and admire it but I must never touch it.
When I was about twelve, we were having our regular oatmeal breakfast and I happened to look at the rose, just as a petal fell. Mippy looked at it and smiled. Then she carefully picked it up and put it in a small pink bowl with several other petals.
When she came and sat back down, she smiled and said “one day, I’ll tell you the story about this rose.” Being twelve, I’m not sure I had a hankering to hear about a flower but I remember her face when she looked at it. It was a sad, bittersweet smile but I could see the light behind her eyes.
The rose was one of those things you grow up seeing, not paying any attention to, and most likely, not missing if it wasn’t there. Sort of like grandpas. I had heard about grandpas. I had read about grandpas. I had even seen what looked like grandpas. I had a grandpa but he lived far away in another state and I had never met him. He was my daddy’s daddy.
When I was old enough to understand, mama told me not to ask Mippy about my other grandpa, because it might make her sad. I didn’t miss him because I didn’t know him. I didn’t think about him because I’d never seen him. For me, it had always just been Mippy.
As I grew older, my visits with Mippy waned a bit. I missed her oatmeal breakfasts, beans and cornbread dinners and the popsicles we always had on a hot, summer day. She was getting older, too. Her hair had turned grey and she had lost a bit of the spring in her step.
I spent my last summer with Mippy, just after I turned eighteen. Times had changed. I drove to her house instead of my daddy bringing me. We sat at the kitchen table and talked about grown-up things, like college and boyfriends.
I remember looking at the rose, still living in the small glass vase. Petals had continued to fall and the little pink bowl that kept them was almost full.
I remember thinking, “how can that rose still be alive after all these years?”
To be continued______________________