Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Grandmothers and memories...

More bad news...
The grandmothers of two friends have passed away this week. I offer them both my condolences and a shoulder to lean on. I'll be going to visitation on Friday for one and will have to wait and see what arrangements are being made for the other. Luckily Sunday will be first the birthday party for Brenden (the son of college friends). It will be nice to celebrate life and a bright future in this otherwise shitty week.

In all honesty, this will probably be my last chance to see my Swiss grandmother this October. She's doing quite well for her age (I believe she's 95 or 96), but she won't live forever. She's a dear, sweet, loving person. I dare say that she's actually more sweet and saintly than my mother. I really look forward to our time together. I've been to Swizterland 5 times (4 of them before I was 7). These journeys are my only memories of her. I have spent very little time with her in the grand scale of things, but the time spent has been impactful. I love her very much and can't wait to see her again. It will be different as she's now living in a retirement apartment building. Both Oma and Opa (grandma and grandpa) were alive during my last visit in 1988. At that time they still live in the townhouse that they had lived in for decades.

I will miss the myriad of smells of that great townhouse. The welcoming smells of the kitchen (potatoes boiling, cabbage boiling, carrots boiling, chicken frying, red currants being cooked for preserves, apricot tarts baking, the smell of serious cheese on the table, the smell of coffee and an open bottle of kirsch). I'll miss the comforting smells of old wood. I'll miss the musty smell of the ancient basement. I'll miss the smell of the garden and the smell of the rain falling on the currant bushes, potato plants, and on the gravel covered area where the laundry was hung to dry. I'll miss the smell of the old wooden shed where Opa kept his shovels and such.

I'll miss the lush vegetable garden, the garden fresh salads, and the green utopian surroundings. I'll miss the small carp pond in front of the neighbor's place. I'll miss the friendly neighbors, the outdoor games of Jassen (a Swiss card game), playing badminton over the laundry line, setting off fireworks in the back on August 1st. I'll miss the old toilet (the kind with the tank on top and a chain to flush it). I'll miss the sight of snails and slugs climbing on the old wooden shed. I'll miss the garden view from my room. I'll miss the fruit candies and Mikamoo (SP?) caramels in the living room. I'll miss the welcome, warm, and historied atmosphere of Oma and Opa's house.

I'll miss breakfast in the kitchen and watching Oma cut a loaf of bread by holding it against her chest and slicing toward herself. I'll miss Ovamaltine and bread and butter on the table. I'll miss the laughter around the kitchen and on the backyard bench. I'll miss the creaky stairs and the sound of rain gently falling in the garden and on the roof. I'll miss the walk down the steep road into town. I'll miss everything about that home. That simple townhouse on the top of hill represents pure unadulterated love to me. That home raised four kids and endless memories. It's now been redeveloped and I'm sure that Oma's apartment is very nice and modern, but I have nothing but the warmest memories from that old townhouse. I realize that all the love and warmth in that home came from its inhabitants and not the wood and walls, but that old physical structures holds a very dear place in my heart.

I will of course be most thankful to see Oma again, as well as my aunts, uncles, cousin, her husband, and their three kids (whom I haven't met yet). This is a family that I barely see, but means the absolute world to me. They are simply the most loving, kind, generous people anywhere.

I miss Opa. He was the kindest, gentlest, most warm-hearted man a person could ever imagine. He had a constant smirky smile and love in his eyes. There was always a language barrier between myself and my Swiss family (although my mom was there to translate), but we didn't neeed a translator to tell each other how much we loved one another. I miss the gestures, the laughs, the "ya yo's", the firm grip of his hand, his red face, and his suspenders. I miss everything about him. It will be a lot different without him. I think I'll constantly be looking out of the corner of my eye for his gentle soul. He was the kind of guy you'd just like to walk up to and give a hug. I miss my dear, sweet Opa. I wasn't old enough to drink the last time I was there. I intend to drink a Falken Bier and some kirsch in his honor on my upcoming trip. I also intend to give Oma the the biggest hug an kiss imaginable as soon as I see her.

My friends who had their grandmothers pass away this week spent a lot more time with them than I ever did with my own. It's very difficult to lose a family member. I wish they and their families strength in their time of sorrow and happy memories for decades to follow.

Schaffhausen Pictures

and in other news...

Apparently Sweet Georgia Brown has been shut down for non-payment of taxes. No big surprise considering that LaVan Hawkins was one of the original partners...

The season premiere of House was tonight. It was very good with LL Cool J turning a surprisingly good performance as a critically ill death row inmate.

A former co-worker of mine stopped by the store today. She works for the Michigan Humane Society. Apparently the've been very busy helping out with the Katrina efforts. Support the MHS Emergency Rescue Team here.

I saw most of a PBS special tonight on BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) in India. it was very interesting. Whenever you call a customer service number odds are that you're call is being directed to an operator in India. I'm sure you've encountered this on more than one occasion. While Americans are losing jobs to outsourcing to Indai for cheaper labor, India is gaining millions of jobs. The BPO employees in India are among the highest paid in the country are generally very successful. This new era in India of young and mostly female professionals is changing the social scene entirely. Young Indians are drinking more, dancing, and generally behaving more "Western". One gentleman gave up being a doctor to answer phones as it paid more. It was really quite a fascinating story. The American economy may be in the shitter and many Americans may be losing jobs to outsourcing, but please be considerate the next time you call for customer support. Someone I know has a son attending UM-Dearborn who is studying Engineering. Someone in the school actually recommend that he stop and pursue something else as the engineering jobs are all being outsourced as well. I actually commend that professor for his/her honesty. It's a tough world we live in.

George W. Bush is still an asshole.

John Roberts under scrutiny by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Details here...

The Iraqi Prime Minister was in Dearborn today. That's pretty cool.

It's my birthday today. I'm going to spend it at work having a long, shitty-ass day. I'll be a third of century old in 4 months. Where does the time go?

Random poll- Who would you rather have lead the country? George W. Bush, Kwame Kilpatrick, Gallagher, a lobotomized manatee, Joan Rivers, a piece of celery, or a donkey turd?



Blogger Brian P said...

Happy B-Day Jason.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous DWD said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day. And thanks for your comments and thoughts. They are greatly appreciated.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

I gotta go with the celery...stiff, green and crispy...good in soups. Yeah, celery for President.

Happy Birthday!

7:50 PM  

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