Ranking Number

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia were coming to a close, I however was prepping for my own event. It is not held every four years, but several times a year on various days. Christmas, Thanksgiving, any other holiday or suggested holiday is an opportunity to participate with Grama Beulah being the sole arbitrator.

A holiday telephone call to Grama begins generally the same – with your ranking number and like an Olympic event there is a winner. “Oh, Erica, you’re the second person to call today. I just hung up the phone with your sister…” As with other races, timing is crucial. “Randy called me first this morning, I hadn’t even gotten dressed or had my coffee yet.” Verse an opening such as, “I didn’t think I’d hear from you today, you’re the last one I was waiting for. I figured you were too busy with the boys to call.” Once ranked, you’re free to brag to the rest of the family as you place your holiday calls.

Sunday, February 23rd was Grama Beulah’s 89th birthday. It fell this year on the last day of February school vacation, a week where everyone in our house had gotten sick, me being the last. I lost my voice on Saturday and Sunday morning I felt and sounded worse. After getting the boys’ cereal, my coffee, and I had determined the time difference between Colorado and Massachusetts I dialed Grama’s telephone number.

It was busy! Redial, no answer. Redial, busy.

Finally, 15-minutes later it rang. “Good morning Erica,” she answered, utilizing caller id. Regretfully I was unable to sing her ‘Happy Birthday’ but managed hoarsely give my well wishes. Then it started. “Why thank you! I just got off the phone with your brother,” she began. “Oh, is that who you were talking with? I’ve been calling and your phone was busy,” I answered. (It is critical to demonstrate your previous failed attempts.) Her rundown continued. I took 5th place after: 1-Uncle Randy; 2- Uncle Tom and Aunt Jenn; 3- Uncle Rich and Aunt Jean; and 4- my brother Adam. Not too bad considering how sick I was feeling I thought to myself.

Grama Beulah was 89-years old, who could imagine? The matriarch of our family, I was excited for her to reach such an age while simultaneously sadden to know how finite her days are. She sounded chipper and witty as she kept our conversation short so I could, “get some rest and feel better,” and she could finish her breakfast interrupted by all her birthday callers.

Fifth place, I wondered how I would rank the next holiday.