[Note: from here on I will refer to my aunt as “Ame (Aunt) Pari”]
Today was a day of big adventures. Dad and I had talked last night about going to his “garden”, a small plot that he has outside of town. I wanted Ame Pari and Maman to come of course, and he said of course they would. When I came over for lunch today, Ame Pari said she couldn't because she needed to go grocery shopping. I said I'd come with her, and we could go to the garden after. When dad arrived later in the afternoon, they began the complex negotiations that go with every event. The relative merits of going shopping outside town near the garden or inside town, whether or not to bring Maman, etc. of course all in Farsi. I kept my head down and studied a particularly pernicious Farsi letter (that has 4 iterations, depending on its placement in a word!) and when I came up for air it had all been settled.
Except of course that Maman immediately erupted in loud moans of complaint. “Mordam! Mordam!” (I'm dying!) and even more; “Ofdadam! Ofdadam!” (I'm falling! I'm falling!) as she sat demurely on the coach behind her walker. Further negotiations ensued in Farsi, and eventually I figured I should play my grandaughter card. “Be-ah!” I said (come!) She froze for a moment. And then continued yelling “Ofdadam! Ofdadam!” I asked for the translation of “It's ok, you can fall and still come!” Which, when delivered, was totally ineffective and possibly increased the level of wailing. Eventually between the 4 of us (me, dad, Ame Pari, and Teibah, the woman who they've hired to help out) we managed to bustle her out the door and into the elevator. It was a bit claustrophobic, with the 5 of us plus walker, but down we went.
Until. The elevator inexplicably halted near our floor. And wouldn't open. Sensing a great photo opportunity, I whipped out my camera and started snapping pictures while dad yelled our predicament into the intercom. Maman even perked up for one picture.
Soon, the outer door was pried open by a maintenance guy on the other side, and then the inner door. Which presented another predicament; turns out that the elevator had decided to freeze between floors and about 2 feet above the ground floor. Which wasn't a problem for us able bodied folk, but Maman can barely shuffle to the dinner table with her walker. There ensued more chaotic shouting and gesturing. I (brilliantly) said “We can just lift her down!” I had to repeat it a few times until I was heard over the din, but then Dad immediately saw that this was indeed the thing to do. I jumped down and just in time whipped out the camera again sensing another fabulous photo op. And then oh did the wailing begin in earnest “Ofdadam! Ofdadam!” and I could no longer control the peels of laughter because now it was actually true. The look on Dad's face as the still wailing Maman was loaded onto his back was too much and I had to duck around the corner and just howl for a moment before returning to the scene. We got her down, and all loaded into the car as the wailings subsided. I have been bursting into spontaneous laughter since then just remembering this moment. The pictures are a little dark but check out those facial expressions....Dad accused me of staging the whole thing just so i could have a good photo op.
We drove out of town about a half hour and up into the mountains north of town, stopping on the way to get gas. The garden is a small fenced in area with walled terraces and about 40 fruit trees; mostly apple, also walnut, quince, plum... We set maman up at the top and then Ame Pari and I gathered up apples and walnuts from beneath the trees. I must say she is one bad-ass Aunt; she is 73, doesn't look a day over 50, is full of energy, charm, love and compassion AND climbed up one of the apple trees to pick a few out of reach ones in her high heels!! It felt so good to get out of the city and breath fresh, clean(er) air. Dad told me all about the various additions he'd built, walls here and there, and the various trees. He even has a plot where he's growing saffron flowers. Each purple flower that each has 2 stamens. The stamens are the saffron; if you grow 150 flowers you have enough for a gram of saffron. Eventually we all loaded back up to head home; stopping at a bakery on the way.
|'And this is the toilet...'|