I think I've explained that the grape vine I had enjoyed for so many years in the backyard of my workplace has withered up and died, leaving me without a source for this delicacy that I adore. I spotted a house in my neighborhood recently with a few vines across a front yard arbor, but it would be awkward and illegal to climb over their fence at harvest time. Ellie has leaves though, so when I realized that the trip back east for Thanksgiving would include my birthday propah, I wasted no time in requesting a full lebanese feast. In the weeks leading up to departure, we started to talk details and Ellie mentioned that she didn't have enough grape leaves, but she had some. Around that same time, I was sitting in a training meeting on the campus where I work when I overheard participants talking about the beautiful landscaping, including the grape vines that ran along the fence. Suddenly, I felt the need to excuse myself from the proceedings.
|Washed, dried, stacked, then frozen until ready for transport.|
|Happy Birthday to Moi|
I had snapped photos of a few pictures from Mom and Dad's 1978 photo album to show Lill, which were well examined:
|Glor, Frank, Lill, Rod|
|Lill and her mom, my Sittoo|
When I showed those photos to the sisters not present, they commented that they were hard to see. I get that, but it really wasn't hard to be there. Lill was frail, but fully present. She had some pain, but was able to boss us all around to fetch and adjust whatever she thought might relieve her. We talked together. Look at the body language in those photos. No one was awkward, no one was tragic, no one was uncomfortable. Except Lill, when the pillow was in the wrong damn angle. We joked about my butt and laughed at memories and just hung out for a little while, together.
When it was time to go, we said goodbye. Like really, goodbye. I looked right into Lill's brown eyes, those eyes that could have been my dad looking right back into mine. We said goodbye.
I'm getting ready to head back next week for a proper Corey send off to the last of the original Corey girls. It will be sad and poignant and funny and beautiful and blessed and wonderful. Just like Lill.
GOODBYE, MY AUNTIE LILL.