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MARTHA SEZ: ‘By the time the phone call was done, my winter blues had been banished’

I was sitting on the sofa the other day, crocheting little hearts out of leftover red and pink yarn, which cheerful occupation did little to assuage the deleterious effects of a long, plague-ridden winter, when the phone rang.

The phone did not ring in the loud, abrasive old-timey way of a few years ago. No, it was an inquisitive, bubbly little brrring? Brrring? sound, which I knew meant that my grandchildren were calling.

Luckily, my cellphone happened to be next to me on the sofa cushion, and not hidden away in some unlikely cranny of my apartment, so I was able to answer right away.

My granddaughter Emma’s lovely face appeared on the screen. Emma is 8.

“Grandma, do you remember how to Zoom?” A lifetime of carefully instructing her brother Jack, who is a year and a half younger, have given Emma a teacherlike demeanor. Clearly, she wasn’t expecting a lot, but she was ready to take me through the steps all over again, if necessary.

I didn’t, of course, but we got that straightened away, and Jack came on, beaming joyously, his two front teeth notable for their absence. It’s an adorable look, for children. Not so much for adults. “Hi, Grandma!”

Emma again: “Grandma, Jack is going to show you the new video he made, ‘Police’s Big Day.'”

High hilarity ensued, during which time toy trucks crashed into each other, accompanied by a soundtrack of Jack making noises of screeching brakes, revving engines, explosions and people yelling “Oh no!” and “Aaaah!” Little fire emojis appeared on the screen, fire trucks drove up and a Ken doll got run over. A bad guy was heard to declare “I’m going to cause a whole lot of trouble!”

People who never knew any little boys might be disturbed by the violence of this video, thinking that perhaps the child who created it had been watching the news on television.

I was laughing helplessly. “I wish my brother Jim could see this video!” I said when I was able to talk. When Jimmy was Jack’s age, he and his friends played exactly the same way.

“What, you have a brother named Jim?” Emma asked, surprised, and I was reminded how far-flung families are these days.

“Yes, like your father. My father’s name was Jim too. There are a lot of Jims in our family.”

“My father’s name is actually James,” Emma said primly.

“Yes,” I said, “Jims are actually named James.”

So that was “Police’s Big Day,” I thought. I had a hard time following the plot, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“That wasn’t ‘Police’s Big Day,’ Jack informed me. “I couldn’t find ‘Police’s Big Day.’ That was ‘Bad Guys Win.'”

I never did get to see “Police’s Big Day,” but maybe I will get the chance at some later date. I watched Emma loom a rubber band bracelet and saw a fairly bizarre Barbie video that my grandchildren didn’t make but thought I would enjoy anyway. The narrator talked baby talk in a strange accent and said “nur” instead of no or know, as in “I don’t nur.”

By the time the phone call was done, my winter blues had been banished.

Jack and Emma live in California, which I think is a good place to be right now, but when I hear the snow plows on the road and look out the window at the fresh, mounding snow, I think how they would love to be here. As a toddler, Jack used to stand on the sofa to watch, fascinated, as the garbage truck made its weekly rounds on his block. I know he would love to see snow removal vehicles.

While, technically, February is the shortest month, it seems like the longest, at least if you live up North. The magical, pristine, sparkling, softly falling snow you desired so fervently at Christmastime is old news now, unless of course you are a child or a skier or an Adirondack entrepreneur who relies on the tourist trade.

I hope we don’t get a big snowstorm the day before Valentine’s Day, when I am scheduled to get my COVID vaccination in Plattsburgh. As much as I like Zooming with my grands, I am looking forward to the day I see them again in person, and getting vaccinated brings that day closer.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with all of these little crocheted hearts.

Have a good week.

(Martha Allen lives in Keene Valley. She has been writing for the Lake Placid News for more than 20 years.)