We used to go to my Nonny’s country club for 4th of July. My Poppy was a golfer, but after he died Nonny still kept the membership even though she had crazy arthritis and had never picked up a club even when she didn’t. Her five grandchildren begged her to keep it because on America’s Independence Day we loved ordering our own sodas, playing the games set up on the driving range until almost dark and winning cheap stuffed animals and basketball jerseys that would dissolve in the wash.
The membership to the country club was expensive. I knew that even at nine when I overheard my mom and dad and aunt and uncle trying to tell Nonny it might not be worth it. No one was going to golf and all the kids wanted to do there was run on the course with our shoes off and chase the swans. But she kept it anyway. She kept it for 15 years.
I remember one of my favorite parts of 4th of July there was changing into our jammies in the country club ladies room. Ladies were in there in their bras! There was hairspray next to the sink and combs soaking in some weird blue water! There was carpet in the bathroom! When we came out we got to walk around this fancy club with Poppy’s picture on the wall in our pajamas! It was special like eating your birthday cake with your fingers. It was happy like having your whole family together. It was having our whole family together, because I felt Poppy was there too.
Sometimes it’s hard when you know you need these people most after they’re gone, but you have to know they gave you everything you needed to take on life before they left.