I can't explain why, in the middle of the symphony hall last night, listening to the heartwarming works of Debussy, my late grandma, of all people, came to mind.
I remembered her sweet happy face, her small eyes that all but disappeared when she laughed, her plump rosy cheeks. Those were always glowing, courtesy of her all important daily Nivea routine and her multiple layers of clothing, no matter the season. "Ed'dafa 3afa, wlaw b3ezz es'saif", she used to say (Warmth brings good health, even at the height of summer). We lived "far" from her mountain house by Lebanese standards, though I realized later it was a mere 30 or so minutes car ride, less than I drive to work every day! My parents, my sisters and I still visited as often as we could, mostly on weekends. What I remember most is the excitement that overtook her when we made it there. Her rosy cheeks got instantly rosier and her face was overtaken by a huge smile, which held on as if by the power of cement glue. She would start asking what we wanted to eat before we had even finished hugging. If she didn't ask enough, she asked ten times. It didn't matter what time of day it was or if we had just eaten, there was no escaping a meal. Cooking was not her forte, so when she asked what we felt like eating, and she always asked, without any hesitation, we picked the same menu items: French fries or batata zih as my younger sister called them, tabbouli with freshly picked tomatoes, parsley and mint from her adjacent garden, saj bread she had baked herself, and to finish off, seasonal fruits from my grandpa's orchard. We would set the table but she would not sit more than a few minutes at a time, scurrying back and forth to the kitchen in her oversized slippers to get one more thing to pamper us with. Those days are long gone. As children, we never understood all the excitement and joy. Sure, we loved her and had missed her too but what was the big deal about... Oops! First time I go over the word limit on a post. Check out my next post for the rest.