July 4, 2004
It’s late on the evening of July Fourth. Hubbo’s grandfather Albert died yesterday, at the age of 96, so we have spent the day in a combination of bereavement, cheese platters, and fireworks. It’s what happens when you have an aged grandparent and two small boys.
On Friday, I went to the hospital to see Albert. He wasn’t awake, but there was a lot of life in his room that morning. I visited with Cynethia and Robbie, the women who were taking care of him.
Cynethia was working on a crochet bag for a friend’s baby. She told me that she learned to crochet when she took care of a lady who had broken her collarbone and wore a big cast. In a moment of high coincidence, Cynethia broke her arm and ended up in a cast too. The woman taught her to crochet, showing her how to wedge a crochet hook into the end of her cast. Cynethia said she had trouble getting the hang of crochet once she had to do it cast-free.
Robbie isn’t a knitter, but oh, man, can she sing. Back at his apartment, where she took care of him full time, Robbie would sing to Albert the songs he loved. Robbie had been a singer with Bobby Jones Gospel for many years, and along the way had backed up Ray Charles. As we sat in Albert’s room, Robbie took his hand and let loose, low and slow:
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high
Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry
Albert loved Gershwin and Cole Porter and was the jazziest pianist you ever heard. I can only imagine the pleasure Robbie gave him with her silvery, rich voice.