Lions and Carousel Horses

Strange day, but not entirely bad. I’m still sad about my grandma and will be sad for a while, worried too about my old lizard, but I do actually have a lot of support. I’ve been talking to friends and family. A lot of the conversations were about loss, about the strangeness of not being able to travel in the time of Covid, the dangers one can face if one chooses to travel anyway – and I personally choose to steer clear of such dangers – but a lot of the conversations were also about art, and that is a good thing. It’s nice to remember, at a time when being so far from my family is more challenging than ever that I do have a purpose for being here, a purpose for staying away and focusing on some of the really good things in my life right now.

If my grandmother were not just alive, but also the formidable woman she was before old age and illness transformed her into a shadow of her former self, she would probably make fun of me for making carousel horses and tell me that painting was a very silly endeavor. But then, I think her eyes would sparkle and her very practical business-savvy nature would rejoice at the sight of money. You actually sell these horses, girl? Well, can you make more then? Can you make bigger ones? Nicer ones? Ones with bushier tails and sparklier eyes?

Among other qualities, my grandmother loved to sell things and she was good at it too. She loved running my grandfather’s fur business and even after he passed, she used her entrepreneurial spirit in other endeavors – such as selling things to the nurses in the hospital when she was there for her broken ribs seven of eight years ago. Perhaps I’ve inherited that from her, along with a serious coffee addiction, a penchant for telling people off, and the strength to overcome obstacles while retaining a sense of humor. My grandma was strong-willed and in many ways self-serving and some of the people in our family didn’t exactly like her. I absolutely adored everything about her for as long as I can remember. She was tough and occasionally rough around the edges. Her nickname, which everyone used, was Leu, which means The Lion. It was definitely fitting as she was a force to be reckoned with. But she was actually extremely nice and kind where kindness was warranted and very gentle too. Gentle with snails and mourning doves and all the little wonders of life. I was a crazy and stubborn child, but my grandma could always get me to do whatever she wanted me to do just because of her lovely way of speaking. She could make everything seem magical and funny. I think, in fact, she would have liked my carousel horses very much – especially if they turned a profit.

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