The cardinal outside my window made me think of Gram this morning. If she were sitting here, she would have seen it, too. Would have heard it chirruping and warbling. Would have watched it for a long time, caught up in some thought or prayer.
It would be her birthday tomorrow and, though I may not remember how old she would have been, I remember the important things. Like that Christmas Eve I spent the night at her house.
After we made peanut butter cookies with criss-cross fork marks and a Hershey’s kiss in the center, we spread peanut butter on pine cones and rolled the sticky cones in bird seed. Then we hung our little craft project from her tree just outside the kitchen window and watched for the cardinals. They came all afternoon, bright crimson against the pristine snow.
Gram sang like a bird, too. Her own lilting song filling the house as she hit soprano notes in a steady vibrato that made anyone in hearing distance smile. Her laugh sounded that way, too. A lovely strain of tweets and trills.
I remember so many things about Gram. The way she always smelled of Freedent gum and dime store perfume. The way she ate a triangle-cut, white-bread-and-ham sandwich always with her pinky finger properly held aloft, her long lovely nails making her dainty mannerism all the more elegant. But today I linger on the way she loved birds. And how I can almost hear her singing along with the cardinal at my window.
Or maybe that’s just some memory of her laughter I hear.