I went to college in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is the same town where my dad grew up.
It's a "family" college. By that I mean my Dad's parents met while attending there, all my dad's family attended the college (except my dad, he was the rebel and attended West Point). My Gramma was widowed at a young age (my dad was 6) and she worked at the college for many, many years as the Alumni Secretary.
By the time I attended, my Gramma's mental state was deteriorating and dementia was starting to set in, but she was still functional and could communicate and take care of herself (for the most part).
By my Junior year, she had to move out of her house and move into an apartment complex for elderly. Not quite assisted living, but not completely independent either.
My sister and cousin Tom (both of whom also attended the college I went to) used to take her out to eat on occasion. I always loved being able to take her out and not only spend some time with her, but also with my sister and cousin. They're fun people.
One day sticks out more than any other and I've been reminded of it lately.
It was a typical spring day on the shores of Lake Michigan. Lots of wind. My cousin went to fetch the car while my sister and I brought my Gramma down to the lobby and outside. As soon as we stepped outside, the wind gusted up and blew our hair around.
My Gramma must have just had her hair done. She immediately put her hands to her head and started yelling, "The boy! The boy!" (I think what she meant to say is, "Where is Tom with the car?" but couldn't find the words in her excitement!) All the while, laughing and waving her arms and hands and patting down her hair. My sister and I couldn't help but laugh too.
There was something so funny and charming and so "Gramma" about that moment. My sister and I still look back and laugh about that moment fondly.
Lately we've had some windy weather here in Georgia. As we walk to and from shops and stores, I'll look down at Sam, with one hand holding his hair down to keep it from being swept by the wind.
Just like Gramma did that windy afternoon.
And I know, even though they never got to meet, that there is a part of Sam that knows my Gramma.