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Momma and I were on the way back from the grocery store when she told me that grand-nana was flying here to Dallas today. I simply laughed, incredulous that my Grand-nana was actually going to step on an airplane. Grand-nana had refused to get even a television until just a few months ago! I couldn’t imagine how my momma could’ve convinced Grand-nana to get in an airplane. She is a very fragile woman; cynical of many things; fearful of everything. I don’t mean to berate my Grand-nana, but I’m not exaggerating.
Regardless of my aforementioned disbelief, Grand-nana indeed stepped outside of gate 17 into the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Her face was crimson flushed in anxiety. I tucked her trembling arm into the nook of my own and led her outside to the car trying to keep up with my momma’s quick stride. Momma pressed a button on her key that made the doors on our silver minivan slide open. I started to get in when I noticed Grand-nana stumble backwards, mouth agape.
“Th- The do- The door,” she stuttered.
I said “Yes, Grand-Nana, the car doors slide open now to make it easier to access. This car would be great for you. You wouldn’t have to strain yourself to open the doors to put groceries in.”
“Ohhhh no, darling, oh no,” Grand-Nana said dubiously. Momma snickered in the drivers’ seat at Grand-nana’s reluctant tendency. I am temperate with my great grandmother. It’s not her fault. Modern technology is a foreign language to the woman.
My message ringtone went off. I tugged my IPhone out of my pocket and started tapping away. I knew I was probably blushing because it was Adam who had texted me and I have a huge crush on him! I was in the middle of replying to him when I began to feel Grand-nana staring daggers into my back. I immediately realized what the reason for her bewilderment was.
“Grand-nana it’s called a smart phone,” I said patiently.
“But, darling, why do you keep hitting it with your thumbs?!” Grand-nana asked with her eyes wide.
“Grand-nana it’s a touch screen. Instead of pressing actual buttons you gently tap the screen and you can type or play games, tweet, and even surf the web!” I answered.
“Goodness Gracious, child! Have you lost all your marbles!? What is this you speak of surfing on a contraption that spiders make? And tweeting? You are NOT a bird!” my great grandmother hollered.
“Oh, nana, you’ve got it all wrong! I mean the web as in the internet not the things spiders make! The internet…is something people use on laptops and computers a lot! Do you know what a computer is!?” I was unsure of how to properly explain this to my Grand-nana.
“What you say, child? A lap dog and a…uh...kumquat?” she said. Her eyes had become wild.
I reached for her trembling hand. “Grand-nana, a computer is a machine that people use to store, access, and gather all sorts of stuff including documents, memories, and music. The internet is like a radio station for a computer. There are so many things to do; so many things to choose from. It’s like one radio, but you use that one radio to listen to so many different things.”
Her softening face indicated understanding and I even saw a smile start to form but this expression was quickly replaced with chagrin as she asked, “But darling, why are you surfing on it!? I hope you are a strong swimmer! A current could catch you at any moment.”
I let out a long breath but, not in agitation. I looked at Grand-nana’s crinkled fingers quivering in my own. I looked into her big brown eyes anxiously waiting for my explanation. At 97 years old she’d seen so much, yet, knew so little. So, as I let out that long breath, I realized this was going to be a long day; a long day full of much patience and much love. And, I smiled at my Grand-nana.