Last Saturday morning I awoke to find a missed call from my mother. I didn’t need to call her back to find out why she called so early, for there was only one reason she would call me at 5am Sydney time. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but shocking nonetheless. After several months of deteriorating health, my grandmother passed away.
It takes an event like this to make you realize just how far away Australia is. Without hesitating, I booked a flight to Fort Lauderdale to attend the funeral. It wasn’t cheap, but luckily it wasn’t outrageous, but I ended up spending more time traveling to and from than I actually spent in Florida. Despite the cost, time, and distance, it was a trip I had to take.
Why am I posting this? I hate doing sad posts – and the last thing I want to do is bring anyone down - but a few of the following posts may not make sense without knowing that I had to make a journey back to Florida so soon after I was just there in May. So, I decided to write about it.
This one is for Grandma Pearl – the smart, strong-willed woman who always told it like it was – and was always right. The one who was married to Grandpa Max for over 60 of her 88 years on this planet. The one who made us turkey meatballs and matzo ball soup and latkes, and taught us how to play Scrabble and Boggle and Set – though it took us a while to actually be able to beat her. Disney World trips, morning pancakes, and a predictable amount of money each year on our birthdays. The one who taught me that a yellow light means speed up and that broccoli actually is delicious. And maybe most memorable – or at least most representative of her personality - the lady who took the Pepsi Challenge and, without any qualms whatsoever, correctly identified which one was Coke and which one was Pepsi, and proudly told the Pepsi folks that she knew which was which because the Coke tasted better.