The scent of a Hallmark store gives me the same feeling as when I inadvertently remember how my kindergarten teacher smelled. It was a heartwarming scent, though an odd memory, but more than recognizable for reasons understood only in my brain. The ladies at the front greeted me as I entered an almost empty store. They asked if I needed help. I should have said, “Yes.” The maze of greeting cards tested my will. In all the stores I have been to for Hallmark, I’ve never had such difficulty finding what I wanted; after all, she will be 81 years young August 31st and I have to find the perfect card. I found rows of “sympathy” and “thank you” cards, of “get well soon” and “congratulations cards”, and the all-too-exciting milestone cards. Round and round I went through the aisles till I found “her birthday.”
I’m one of those people who is less than satisfied with looking at only five or six cards and picking one. Oh no. I must have opened thirty cards, and the second one I read, that’s the one I chose. I have to make sure I’ve picked the very best I can. I have to make sure it says everything I want it to say without being more than eight lines; I don’t give books inside cards. As I wandered through these cards, I considered that this may be the last one I give her; this may be the last August that she sees. But I quickly push that thought away. She has been a devoutly religious woman since as long as I can remember. God has been good to her, she would say. God has blessed her with long life and the chance to see her grand babies.
Many of my friends have never met their grandparents, or were not old enough to remember them. The lady at the register told me how lucky I was that I had the chance to spend time with my grandmother, that most people never get that chance. I considered the concept, the idea of not having that chance, but had no way to fathom it. All four of my grandparents are still alive. All of them are almost eighty, if not already. My grandparents would all tell you it is God who has gifted them with long life and a chance to see their grandbabies. What about chance? The chance that they still live to this day, that they have been alive through more than fifteen presidents, through the Depression, World and Gulf Wars, through the times of housewives and flappers, less than a decade after women gained the right to vote, through a time when inequality of races and sex was a perfectly accepted concept? But leave long life to chance? Never.
Leann Fischel is about to become a 2010 graduate of Sam Houston State University where she spent the last three years falling in love with writing. She has read the classics by Twain, Shakespeare, Dostoevskyand many others and yes, the Harry Potter AND Twilight series. She hopes a job will find her in San Antonio in the next six months so she can be a workin’ woman.