When I was a little girl and most of my life my grandmother has sat in silence.
She reads, but only at certain times of the day. She watches television, but more often she doesn't.
When she would pick me up from school the radio in the car was never on. (That was probably a good thing - she was a terrible driver). It seemed strange to me as a child growing up in a world where television came through an antennae on the roof into the yellow dial on the television. Why would you choose the quiet when there was a world of images and stories not hiding in books, but right in front of you - I grew upwith the great shows like Night Rider, Buck Rogers, The Dukes of Hazard, or the A-Team (my all time favorite)! Oh! and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe... I mean come on... Why wouldn't you want the sounds of music blaring through the speakers when pop music was everything and the great country singers knew how to perfectly sing your life story...
My grandmother made no sense to me.
She was happiest shucking corn with the neighbors and shelling peas or picking fleas off her dog. The silly stories she and my grandfather would share about their childhoods and their work days seemed pointless to me so I seldom listened.
I wish I would have paid better attention...
During the day when she wasn't cooking she was cleaning or working - she was a secretary and attended college - not common for a woman of her age.
And there was never a time she turned me away - no matter how hyper or talkative I was. She liked my company... I guess.
And every time I arrived, the television wasn't on, she was busy working on some gardening or life task and she was ready to receive me and do whatever I wanted.
What a golden age of stillness.
I have no idea what a normal life looks like. I have always assumed mine wasn't. My mother spent all her days canning - or so it seemed to me. And my dad seemed the most relaxed when he came out of the garden. We went to church every Sunday - just like Little House on the Prairie and went to see my grandmother and grandfather every Sunday after church for Sunday dinner. And somehow, we weren't a normal family to most of my school friends growing up.
I understand most people are embarrassed by their parents as they mature - and rebel as they grow, but I never really understood how great my life was until I could understand my grandmothers silence.
It seems strange now that I am older and my own children think I am weird and flaky. Our world is turning towards their adulthood and I have tried with all my might to provide them the best of my grandmothers world and this one. Our present world is much louder and way more visual than mine was, but... none the less I have tried.
Tonight, I sit in the silence of summer. The cicada song is beginning to fade into cricket song, the summer air has unloaded the burden of water it has held all day in a perfect summer shower. Mosquitoes are biting badly enough that even the intoxicating sunset can't keep me outside.
The lights are off in my empty house. And I sit here in silence and understand my grandmother in ways I never have before...