By Melanie Bates
I had an epiphany this morn. Like a choking on a slurp of my Ginger Red tea kind of epiphany.
I am Bilbo Baggins.
It all started with this
There was a study released recently that you are what you read. A scary proposition, eh, and I don’t know about you but I’m not particularly keen to become anything like Pap Finn, Iago, Sauron, Satan, Voldemort or Grendel. Plus, unlike Bilbo, I’m really not short. I don’t puff on a pipe (though I did once when I was 15 and having a nicotine fit.) I do, however, shave the little wisps of hair on my big toes, but I most definitely don’t have hair in my ears. Yet.
I don’t know if I was Bilbo before I read The Hobbit or after. But, there’s really no question that I am Bilbo Baggins. Bear with me and I’ll explain.
But first there’s this…
My beloved Grandest Woman, Grandma Alta, is not going to be with us for much longer. She’s 98 years old and she recently had a bad bout with pneumonia, has been in and out of the hospital and is weaker than I’ve ever seen her. One day she’s sharp as a knife made of titanium alloy, other days she doesn’t have the energy to do much but sleep and sip on her chocolate Ensure through a straw. Not too long ago this amazing woman was out mowing her lawn and hanging her garments on the clothesline. Not so very long ago, she and I were taking daily walks over to the cemetery and hitting the ground with lightning speed as bullets whizzed over our heads during the various animal killing seasons rampant in our home town. A couple years ago if we walked in to her house, she was up in a jiff, fussing in the kitchen, to feed our hungry bellies with slices of homemade lemon meringue pie. Now she’s been released to hospice and where we once used to eat Thanksgiving yumminess there lies a silver metal hospital bed.
My family is obviously devastated and our process reminds me of the wild elephants of South Africa who just embarked on a 12 hour journey in order to arrive at the home of their beloved savior shortly after his death. These beautiful creatures hadn’t been to this man’s home for over a year and a half. Yet hours before his death they had begun their journey to say their goodbyes. Somehow they knew. It’s said that, “from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home.” Yes, some members of my family (myself included), are not unlike those wild elephants making our journey to say our own goodbyes.
I’m sad, of course, but I’m also ready for her to go. A couple years ago she wore purple, munching on a piece of English Muffin toast and said to me, “I don’t know what I’m still doing here.” She’s tired. Hell, I’m tired and I’m only 41. When we’d walk the paths of the cemetery together she would say, “I know more people over here than I do in town.” ‘Course this may have been due to the fact that all those “fereners” (foreigners) were moving in.