Some days become the most beautiful you have had in you don't remember how long. It always seems to be the ones I'm dreading that turn out that way. Well, once I had decided that driving all the way to Benoni was out of the questions and opted to rather go with Greggie to church this morning, it was much less dread.
Knowing me, a whole lot in that one sentence won't be making much sense. Firstly, for those of my dear readers who aren't familiar with South Africa ... Benoni is the first issue. You see, Greggie was born there and it has the reputation of being the city that is mocked and the brunt of the jokes most of all. My concern isn't that ... mine is that I won't ever find my way there, or worse, I won't ever find my way out.
Yes, the second alarm bell should be church and me in the same sentence. What is this pagan, moon dancing girl doing going to church?
Ahhh ... it's birthday week! Yes, Greggie celebrates his whole birthday week from Sunday to Sunday and it always being with celebrating Granny's birthday at the start of it. So, although granny is Greggie's granny, by default, she gets to be mine too.
Greggie doesn't do the church thing either but Granny is very important in the congregation and today was a big day for her. I was proud of my friend for not missing such an special day for such an incredible woman. I could lie and say that's why I went to church, but ... that would be a lie. I didn't want to drive there all by myself, so I got up at sparrows and headed out to early morning mass. The excitement on Granny's face was worth the trip.
Believe it or not, I grew up going to mass with an old friend of mine, so I can do the entire service with all the Amens, piece be with you's and?Hallelujahs in all the right places. If you have been around for a long time, you know that a part of me has a special bond with the energy of Mary ... but we didn't go catholic today!
Granny ... bless her, this is about how granny turned her birthday day into one of the most priceless moments (repeated moments) I have had in a long time.
For instance, when she leaned over (in the middle of mass) to tell me: "Now you see how the other half live!"
Or when it was time to stand up so the congregation could sing to her, how she leaped up onto the pew as if she were 21 years old again. Everyone stopped breathing and Greggie had to launch in and grab onto her as she stood there waiting to be sung. After the fact she did get horribly crapped out by her daughter (Greggie's mom) that she could have died. Yes, granny could have toppled over the pew and died, but she sure would have had a whole lot of fun doing it.
Bless granny ... she's a bit of a drama getting into the car and walking in to the restaurant because her eyesight isn't what it used to be. She moaned about the crowds in the restaurant and shoved herself in the far corner of the large family table, keeping a place for her dearest Greggie so that the birthday 'kids' could sit together. I could see the look on Greggie's face when he was shoved in the corner ... my best friend is an attention tart most of the time, but in his birthday week, he needs his own stage with lighting crew and audience.
My two highlights followed next:
The great grandkids are taking wine glasses, filling them with water and making them 'sing' as they rub their finger around the rim. One is getting it very right and the other is turning the glass and not his finger. Granny leans in to help ... tells him to hold his glass ... and shows him THE FINGER! "Use this finger," she says in generational innocence while the rest of us collapse in a heap of hysterics. I can see Greggie's eagerness to the that story at parties, repeatedly.
Then it's time to get ready to go. For most girls that means applying lipstick. At my age, with a steady hand, I still battle to apply lipstick without a mirror ... but granny!!! How do you tell her that she's painted her face in a very granny colour? Oh granny ... that's why we love you!
I didn't have the heart to take a pic of Sandy ... the 14 year old?Maltese poodle who is the walking dead. Well, she is to everyone else but granny. She's blind, rotting from the inside and walks around in aimless circles, but granny loves her and she loves granny and no one dare take that away from these two very old ladies. While we all took turns to run off and pee before we wet our pants laughing, I couldn't help but realise that sometimes the best 'project me' moments are merely a day spent with a very precious old lady and a beautiful family from a city that the brunt of all jokes.
To my dearest Greggie ... Happy day 1 of a week that is all about you because you are that special. And for those who know my best friend through my constant mentions of him in my everyday life, his real birthday is on Friday, but feel free to wish him daily ... I will be!