Spring Tonic

At twenty-one, a new Hunter College graduate,
I was living in the Village on Thompson Street,
sharing a three-room walk-up with a roommate.
Every Sunday, I’d hop a subway uptown,
heading for my grandmother’s apartment.
We’d settle in the kitchen, at the table
between two tall windows overlooking
a rear garden. There was a birch in the garden
that soared past the windows. We’d sit and sip
milky tea from her moss green cups.
Grandma would spin yarns for me—tales
from her youth—how she fled Ireland
after the Potato Famine with nothing
but the clothes on her back—or the time
she was followed around Dublin by a spurned
suitor who threatened to kidnap her.
The stories differed a bit with each telling.
That didn’t matter. I knew Grandma
was full of malarkey. Weekdays, from
nine to five, I was a management trainee
in crisply ironed business suits, digesting
facts and figures for lunch. On these Sundays,
I could kick off my shoes, climb on the wings
of Grandma’s imagination and watch buds
on the birch blossom.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

I thought I had the perfect Catholic fairy tale: Meet and a date a former seminarian. Seven months after I got married, my world was utterly shattered.
July 27, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington in January 2017. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Controversial decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education (school desegregation), Roe v. Wade (abortion) and, most recently, Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage), often are challenged for decades by opponents seeking their reversal or limitation.
Ellen K. BoegelJuly 27, 2017
Oscar Isaacs as Hamlet (photo: The Public Theatre)
In a bewildering new staging at The Public Theater, Oscar Isaac is giving a rich, riveting lead turn as the dubious Danish prince.
Rob Weinert-KendtJuly 27, 2017
Usain Bolt has become a living legend in a track event that is known for creating superstars. His pre- and post-race rituals are purely Catholic, and yet the faith of one of the world’s most talked-about athletes is an open secret.
Nick Ripatrazone July 27, 2017