I sat next to my grandmother on her front porch. We broke crisp green beans to accompany the evening's highly anticipated country-style steak dinner. After awhile, my grandmother began to sing. As she snapped beans into an aged yellow bowl, she quietly and beautifully sang George Jones's "He Stopped Loving Her Today".
Her gentle, baby-blue eyes wistfully drifted towards the sky as she sang. A memory associated with the song, fished from her almost 100-years-old ocean of memories, erased the present moment - her widowhood, her aching body, the green beans, her granddaughter. She continued to sing the song, as always, in a more joyful tone than the original. When she got to a place in the song where the words failed her, she sang, "Di di di di di" until the song's words floated back to the surface.
In one gnarled and knotted hand, she gripped a bean, suspended in the air. The perfectly-painted, pink fingernails of her other hand tapped rhythm into the air.
"Di di di di di" she sang.
For a brief moment, she forgot that I was there. Then, the present moment returned, drowning the past with one large, unwanted and ill-timed wave. Most likely, to never resurface again. She looked at me, reached over with the hand that was previously providing rhythm for her song and squeezed my smooth, straight fingers. I giggled. Then, in silence and the bittersweet haze of nostalgia, we returned to breaking our beans for dinner.