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March 14, 2007

Grandma Purl and the Blanket of Awesomeness

On Saturday I drove approximately five billion miles and in that mileage I made a pit stop at Ellen Bloom's house, where I picked up a large white box from Kristy, addressed to my grandma via me via Ellen. Everyone by now has learned that I am not especially particularly fabulously on top of my mail situation, and even Stella at the mailbox place just sighs, and calls me when something looks urgent or about to spoil.

This is because somewhere along the past year I managed to get stuck on Drew Emborsky Standard Time (DEST), which is to say that if today were last Wednesday, I'd be in great shape! I am only one week behind in my life. Or two. It relieves the stress a little, actually, knowing that no matter how much I want to puddle up and cry and eat my hair, I am not really that far behind... I am merely on DEST, so I am perfectly capable of meeting all my deadlines and obligations if only Superman would come back and do that thing where he flies the world backwards one week. In those tights. Mmmmmmmm.

But, that was not the point of this column! The point is that my Jeep and I made a left turn where we should have turned right, then we figured it out, then I got to Ellen's house (which is SO AWESOME that I tried to move in, twice) and I picked up a large, mysterious and quite heavy package.

"I wonder what it could be...?" I said in a deep, dark, mysterious voice. As deep and dark as a chirpy, twangy female can get anyway.

"Oh you silly girl," said Ellen. "It's your grandma's blanket!"

(I'm not sure if we actually had this conversation or if I dreamed it, but I felt we needed some dialogue here.)

So my Jeep and I drove the Box Of Mystery down to Orange County where my parents were waiting, along with my Aunt Pam and cousins and Grandma and ... my parents! here! in California!

And also, I had no rear-view mirror on my Jeep but I will tell you more about that at a later date, although it was funny that I at one point held my rear-view mirror out the driver's side window for, you know, driving safety purposes.

It was so nice to visit and see my family. I have missed them so much! And everyone wonders why I am the way I am until they meet my family and it suddenly all makes sense, like how my mom had a headache when they were driving from Palm Springs to Orange County on Saturday morning and it was a really bad headache so my dad wanted to get her to the doctor but also thought it would be funny if it just so happened that medical professional he took her to happened to be at... The Betty Ford Clinic. So he drove her to the Betty, and there they asked her such questions as, "Do you have any tattoos or piercings?" and also, "Do you have any metal in your body?" and while my mom was in the ladies' room, my father picked up the clipboard and began filling it out.

"One of the questions was, 'Do you drink alcohol?'" said my dad. "And the answers were: never, sometimes, daily, heavily..."

He paused for a moment.

"I will not reveal what answer I circled, but they did try to admit her after that," he said, with the straightest poker face you have ever seen.

"I went in with a HEADACHE," said my mom. "I walked out with Percoset and Valium. FOR A HEADACHE."

"Well," said my dad, "the good news is your headache is gone. Of course, you're going to be addicted to painkillers now and probably need to be admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic..."

And we all laughed so hard we cried. Ya'll see where I get it.

Then after I found out my parents had spent the morning at the Betty Ford Clinic, we got down to the business of opening the Big Mysterious Box.

"Grandma," I said. "The internet made you something!"

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That is my handsome Dad in those pictures with my amazing Grandma... and look, Grandma is standing with the help of her walker!! The blanket spreads out to fully queen-size and is UNBELIEVEABLY GORGEOUS. We made quite an event about opening the box and everyone was STUNNED. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me and my whole family, and I cried, I think we all cried, it was the loveliest and happiest and most beautiful gift.

Sometimes the world seems so cold and distant and people are always in a hurry, and we're in a hurry, and it's easy to forget that this world is full of kind and good and loving people who would take time out of their lives to bring so much joy and love to someone ... someone they never even met! In that moment I think all of us, all eight of us, were just reminded to have faith in people, to hold on always to the knowledge that this much kindness exists. And to hold on tight to Grandma, who was a little on the overwhelmed side!! We had not even been drinking, ya'll, but there were happy tears all around.

Thank you, each and every one of you who took the time to do this, time to write a little postcard, a note to my Grandma, time to knit or crochet a square -- and there were so many squares! Enough for three or four more blankets! Mr. Hakim and Raydine and Bill... all the Parkview gang will be rolling in high style in hand-made blankets, thanks to you and your kindness and generosity.

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Grandma was shocked when she saw the scrapbook, it was a complete surprise to her. I had told her about the blanket but not the scrapbook, and she turned page after page and read messages of love and prayers from all over the world. My grandmother, who is NEVER at a loss for words (ahem) (apple not falling far from tree, again) was utterly speechless.

The next morning it was early and just the two of us were awake and about, me and Grandma. I was drinking orange juice and she was looking at the scrapbook again, page after page.

She said to me, "I know I am able to be here today and turn these pages myself because I had the prayers of these wonderful people helping me," and ... well, ya'll know. I went into the ugly cry!! She laughed at me and called me an old softie, then she cried too. The good kind of tears.

Thank you to Kristy, who came up with this idea and stuck with it. Kristy had had a very tough six months with her own family and a personal loss, and yet she kept my family in her thoughts and priorities and I have no idea how to thank you, Kristy, except to say your amazing idea and all the folks who helped make it come to life brought so much happiness to my whole family that we'll have it with us always.

Thank you. Thank you to everyone.


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That's joy. Pure and simple.


Posted by laurie at March 14, 2007 9:42 AM