From the time I can remember, whenever you’d say, "Bye, bye, Granny Boo," she’d always answer, "Bye, bye, darlin’," in that southern Virginia accent. Every time. Even when I called her last summer at Little Sisters Of The Poor.
"Bye, bye, Granny Boo."
"Bye, bye, darlin’."
Rehoboth Beach was our family’s beach and Granny Boo’s favorite. We summered there, Aunt Gay had a beach house in Bethany, a couple miles down the road. In the 70’s and 80’s, when Mom was in her guest house years, she had one there: The Seagull at 20 Brooklyn Ave, now a single family home. This is the place I first learned about AIDS: most of mom’s clientele were gay men from D.C. The early years were fun. SO fun. Later years were harder.
Mom is in Rehoboth now with her siblings, Gay and Tom. They are going to give Granny Boo‘s ashes back to the sea at 3pm. If you knew Granny Boo, you’d be certain this is where she came from. She enthusiastically approved the plan.
A friend gave this poem to me when my father died in ’88. I’m certain Mom will read it today oceanside. It’s by Henry Van Dyke (from what I can find online) and known by many names. We call it There She Comes. It says everything.
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads
her white sails to the morning
breeze and starts for the blue
ocean. She is an object of beauty and
strength and I watch her until at
length she hangs like a speck of white
cloud just where the sea and sky
come down to mingle with each other.
then someone at my side says
"There! She’s gone."
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load
of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her;
and just at the moment when someone at my
side says,"There! She’s gone," there are
other eyes watching her coming, and other
voices ready to take up the glad shout
"There she comes!"
Gone from my sight. That is all. Bye, bye, Granny Boo.