In abundance; in plentiful amounts.
She walks into the room and the air changes, rising up like an autumn wind that hits a bank of trees and sends a spray of colorful leaves flying. People who don’t know her will pause, lift their chins and glance around, shrug their shoulders almost imperceptibly and continue their conversations. People who know her move toward her like ducks to bread on water.
She, meanwhile, is wholly unaware of herself, except for a little self consciousness evidenced in the way she tugs at the back of her shirt, making sure it’s not sitting on the Parrish shelf on her back-side. She sees someone she loves, which is basically anyone she has met, and her face lights up; her cheeks rising, her lips parting, her aquamarine eyes sparkling like the sun has just come from behind a cloud on Lake Huron. Irresistible, I tell you. Arms reach out, like zombies from the Night of the Living Dead, only with all good non-scary feelings. They rise in response to her presence. They rise to embrace her. You move your heart in closer to hers and then you smell it; faint and sweet. You inhale just a millisecond longer to capture the scent of Galore.
It’s been her perfume of choice for years. Mine too, though it is not the same on my skin is it is on hers. My skin is too dry. Too selfish. Too….something. But when I smell it on her it makes me want to spray one more spritz in the morning, like schoolgirls who wanted to look like Jennifer Anniston so they spent an hour every morning trying to get the hairdo. We come close, but….
Galore is the perfect name for Ann Marie’s perfume. She is abundance personified. She is graciousness. She is generosity. She holds her cup of life with both hands, raises it toward heaven and watches it overflow as if it were a fountain of youth. There is no end. The more she gets, the more she gives. The more she gives the more she gets. Logic will try to cap it, but like the BP oil spill in Mexico, it will not hold. Her time, her talents, her warm conversation, her culinary skills, her hosting abilities, her testimony, her curiosity, her compassion, her money, her hard work, her tenderness, her laughter, her tears: they cannot be contained. Nor should they be. She is a divine vessel for all of it; a good steward. We’ll be at Costco getting supplies for Thanksgiving and she will pass the children’s toy section and she will move her cart over in that direction like there was a big invisible magnet hidden under the display table. Though there are no little children in her immediate family, she will drop a doll in her cart, already almost full, and then something with some semblance of Mickey Mouseness, along with a Lego set and something that looks like Sophie….oh, and some PJ’s for baby Ruby. These are MY grandchildren. See what I mean?
My mom used to struggle to restrain her concern about Ann Marie’s health. She worked so hard, and got so tired.
“But it makes me happy, Mom.” she would say between yawns.
Like I said, Galore does not smell the same on my skin.
That was 54 years ago. Mom is nearly 87 years old now.
Yesterday Ann Marie drove all day, from Sacramento to Salt Lake City, arriving at Mom and Libby’s house at about one in the morning. She and Mike had come to drop Joseph off at BYU. Joseph is the youngest of Mom’s grandchildren, the caboose of the little train following the big red engine. He is a tall, handsome delight of a boy.