I have just had a very long telephone conversation with my Grandpa. I really don't have time to be sitting here writing this....guests for dinner, not ready, panic. But I am driven to quickly get this down before I forget, and I also think that you (whoever you are) will appreciate this little tit-bit from my day.
My Grandfather (in his 90s) returned home (his home these days is Manhattan) last Saturday from a 3-month cruise around the world. I kid you not. He was accompanied by his baby sister (my great-aunt) who is also 90-something. Grandpa told everyone on the cruise that she was his "lady friend". Sometimes he used the word "escort". My great-aunt played along with the joke, she's hysterical that way too.
We saw them for two days in February when the QE2 (their ship) stopped in Sydney. They drove us completely crazy. My great-aunt only wanted to find a "yarn shop" because she is a knitter (hi Suse, hi any anonymous yous who are crafty) and was desperate for more raw material. We left my Grandpa alone for ONE SECOND while searching for the right shade of blue and we lost him, for quite a while. It ended well. But I digress.
So my Grandpa, on the phone today, told me that he is happy to be home and feeling well. He says, and I quote: "Oh, El, that was some ship of fools, and make no mistake, I was one of them. I keep looking for, and getting into, trouble." Then he told me how he is busy tidying his desk as he speaks to me, and he just came across a note he had written during a stopover in Vietnam: "Pearls around her neck and dirty toes sticking out of torn shoes." "You could write a damn fine story from that line now couldn't you?" I agreed. Enthusiastically.
I then asked him if I could safely assume that all 1800 passengers on the QE2 now know his favourite poem off by heart. You see, Grandpa is OBSESSED with teaching a poem to EVERYONE HE MEETS. He laughed and said "no, not just them, also the crew." So now there is nothing else for me to do but to enclose herewith my Grandpa's favourite poem, for your enjoyment. It is by Robert Frost:
"A Dust Of Snow"
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Now, at this point, Grandpa likes to complicate things by saying: "So, you ever heard of Socrates? You know about Socrates? You know about him and that hemlock? Do you? What do they teach you in that damn school anyway?" But that's another story.