Thursday, March 17, 2005

a scottish one, a cuban one

The phone rang at the crack of dawn this morning and it was Samuel, my nearly 5 year old grandson. He was on his way to visit his great-grandma, across town traffic in Miami, which was taking over half an hour when it would take 5 minutes if they lived in Illinois! Oh how I wish they lived in Illinois, 5 minutes from me!

Samuel visted with me, talking in perfect English, telling me all about a video game, wanting to visit his uncles again so he could play on the X-box. Samuel asked if there is snow in Illinois and then he said "Are you really my daddy's mommy?" He remembered being in our house on Christmas, one of the 17 people climbing over mountains of packages, eating turkey and fruit slush and pecan pie.

That seems so long ago and Samuel seems too grown up as he tells me about wearing shorts every day. Samuel's English was perfect,though he has spent the last couple of months with all the Cuban relatives, many who have lived in the United States for 40+ years and who speak little English. Samuel told me "I love you, Grandma, and handed the phone to Ethan.

Ethan chatted away in two-year-old Spanish, calling me "abuella" and giggling. Ethan who is the Cuban version of his daddy at that age, chubby tanned cheeks, dark, straight hair, gentle and sweet and easily pacified, Ethan is charming. Just like his daddy.

Then Janell got on the phone and told me that she had been baking cookies from the King Arthur's Cookie Cookbook I sent her for Valentine's Day. She was surprisingly cheerful for a woman driving herself to a root canal.

They will head back to South Carolina next week, to their home that still has Christmas lights in the windows, and spring will greet them and Sam will join them when he umpires his last game and returns to more familiar surroundings and more games. They have been to the sea too many times to count since Christmas and now they will go home to the wading pool in the backyard of their cozy house.

Samuel will pretend that he is still in the ocean, he will make waves that will rise up and over Ethan's straight black hair and he will be the shark who eats his brother.


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