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The taste of sweet tea and the ringing of wind chimes beg me to sink into the metal porch chair deeper and take a long, cleansing breath. As I slowly inhale, the sweet fragrance of blooming flowers begins traveling to my soul. This routine visit home feels different; I recognize it as my eyes begin to water.

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Naturally, the six of us are here: Granny the White Hydrangea, Grandma the Campfire Rose, Mom the Begonia, Bonnie the Miniature Butterfly Bush, Reighan the Shasta Daisy, and I, sitting in our typical crescent shape. We have assumed this position for at least twenty years, Reighan most recently.

Granny the White Hydrangea

“More tea?” Granny asks. Although her tea remains the most delicious and I can feel the inches layering onto my hips from the quantity of sugar, I reluctantly say yes. Telling Granny no is not only a weakness but an insult. I find myself staring at her pale skin Gartenhelfer. Ninety-two years, young and as beautiful as ever. Her elegance reminds me of a white hydrangea. She is stunning, coming back year after year even after illness. As I take all of Granny in, I notice her nails perfectly painted as always and her legs crossed in the most ladylike fashion. Our matriarch is as graceful as ever.

“Thank you for a wonderful breakfast Granny,” I say. “It’s always a treat to have your biscuits and gravy.” Even if from a can, I think to myself. Although she tried so hard to shield the evidence with her frail frame, we all knew biscuits from scratch were a thing of the past.

Grandma the Campfire Rose

I hear the sweet humming of the conversations melting together. Hours have passed. Then Grandma asks, “Who is ready for dessert? I made cheesecake.” Again, who can say no? Grandma, such a life of servitude. Rugged like a campfire rose. The leathered skin and deep lines on her face reveal her lack of attention to herself. There is no glitz or glamour. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever seen Grandma in make-up. So beautiful are the pictures of when my mother was a child. This gorgeous woman by her side, Grandma. The wrinkles came so quick, her weathered face and hands. A story in every groove. She is old fashion comfort, resistant to the pests of life. Those who have wronged her, she only loves and forgives more. She walks back outside with cheesecake and two cups of coffee. She is my kindred coffee drinker.

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