The night we got back from attending my Squirrel 'n Dumplins Grandma's funeral she tried to contact us through the blender.
It makes sense really - she did always love to stir things up. (This was, after all, the woman who was in a constant battle with Mayberry City Hall, loved the slot machines, and once, long ago, according to family legend, spent a night in jail for hiding an arrest warrant for one of her sons in her bra. She was only 4'11'', but she was a force to be reckoned with, a tornado in little canvas sneakers.)
The first strange incident was in the middle of the night. The husband was up doing mysterious dead-of-night man things that are beyond my ability to understand, when, he reported later, the blender suddenly began blending. A blender unexpectedly blending at three in the morning has all the impact of a 747 landing in your kitchen, so after pausing to have a small heart attack, he ran in and turned it off. It was weird, he said, but the husband was ready to put it out of his mind.
Until ten minutes later, when the blender suddenly roared into action again. This was enough to freak out even Phlegmatic Man, so after turning it off a second time he backed warily out of the kitchen and went upstairs to bed.
Then, two days later, when my son returned home from school, Grandma was busily blending away in the kitchen again,and judging from the level of the dog's hysteria, had been for awhile.
All this blending made us hungry for smoothies, but upon inspection it was found that the plastic blades inside had melted into a pungent abstract sculpture.
Those skeptics among you may point to my history of appliance anarchy as an explanation, and you would be right in asking whether the blender was plugged in at the time of the visitation. It was. Probably. But the blender has sat on our counter top for several years, minding its own business and blending only when asked, so I like to think all this sudden coincidental activity is a sign from Grandma. She loved to visit.
The last time I saw her, in July, we were late to a wedding, and she was sitting in the passenger seat, little sandal-ed feet barely grazing the floor, arguing with the GPS lady. The last thing she ever said to me was You and your sister have always been my favorites. I'm not supposed to say that, but I'm old. I can say what I want. Then she patted my cheek and walked slowly into the sunset in her peach dress, the same one she would be buried in a month later.
She left me her desk, the one that sat for half a century or more under the lace curtains in the front room, the one I played "school" at for years when we visited. There was also an old black phone with a rotary dial, and when you picked it up you could eavesdrop on the neighbors' conversations (because Grandma had probably one of the last party lines in existence) but the phone disappeared long ago. It's hard to imagine her desk anywhere but under that window, the light through the leaves of the walnut tree outside making patterns on its worn surface.
It was nice of you to keep in touch. We had to throw out the blender, but I knew you'd understand.
I hope heaven has televised baseball, and vegetable gardens, and that slot machine game you like with the chicken on the top. You deserve that and so much more. It's not going to be the same here without you, for any of us.