On Tuesday, we loaded up into the car and drove to Comox (taking the scenic route) to visit Precious Pat.
Pat is the most energetic 87 year old I've ever met. She sleeps in a fifth-wheeler (so that she still has space of her own), hauls chairs up the stairs, and the last time we tried to visit her, she was away to Costa Rica. And she's a wildly good story-teller (which should not be a surprise, since that's pretty common on that Irish side of the family): she started off one of her best stories with the words: "Mr. Humphries (he owned the sugar factory)..." I wanted to have a video camera set up all the time, so as to capture the brilliance of it all.
She's surrounded by a big and cheerful family, all of whom love and dote on her. She calls everyone in her family cute nicknames, referring to her 60-year-old contractor son as "Cy-boy," and her bearded father-of-four grandson as "Jo Jo." When we drove away from their house, we looked back to see the whole extended family standing on the porch and waving at us.
Pat loves everyone around her, calling us "precious," and informing everyone that my Dad's a genius and a "big shot." (We started calling her "Precious Pat" because she walked up to my brother at a church camp -- at a time when he didn't know who she was -- and said to him, "Michael [Ourlastname]. Precious.")
And, from certain angles, and with certain inflections of her voice, she reminds me so much of my Little Grandma. (Which shouldn't be entirely a surprise, since Pat is Grandma's cousin.) Being around her made me miss Grandma, and I had to give Pat extra hugs because of it.