My Grandmother stood at the counter in the kitchen and sighed in desperation.

The questions just kept coming. They wouldn’t stop. No matter how often she answered. No matter how much she pleaded. She went into the dining room to the hutch where she kept all kinds of paper stuff – sheets of paper, envelopes, stamps, pens and pencils, and underneath it all were the Crayolas. She took out a sheet of paper and a black marker. “Here,” she said, “I’m going to time you and while I am counting I want you to make as many dots as you can all over this sheet of paper.” “Why?” I asked. “Just do it, ” she said.

I took the paper and settled onto the floor in front of the fireplace. “Go”, she said. I pressed the pen into the paper as many times as I could while Grandma counted from one to ten. “Stop!”, she said.

“Now take the marker and connect the dots. Connect every dot that can be connected to every other dot.” “That will take forever!,” I said. “Yes, it will, ” said Grandma as she started preparing dinner.

The connected dots began to create shapes on the paper. No shape was to be left undrawn. Once all the dots were connected and the shapes were made, grandma would wipe her hands on her apron, go to the hutch and get out the Crayolas. Cornflower Blue. Brick. Evergreen. Sunflower. Canteloupe. Yellow. Prussian Blue. Black. Rose. There was a box of new ones and a coffee can full of old ones. Crayolas all mixed together, most of them worn down to stubs by my aunts or their cousins before me. Each shape on the paper needed to be filled with color. There was to be no white left on the page.

Where is your father? Grandma thought …

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