“It’s a shame she never got a patent,” my grandmother said. “You’d be inheriting a fortune.”
I knew she was talking about the rusty gizmo that sat in the back of the barn. She talked more about her youth as she descended into dementia. I came as care-giver relief on Sundays.
I made strong, sweet tea. We sat in the sunroom, talking. On good days, she might pick up her knitting. She remembered how to make scarves, though the width and pattern rarely matched top to bottom.
On summer days, we took short walks. She pointed out the touchstones of her long life on the family farm.
As a child, I played with great-grandmother’s invention. It was a time machine, a ferry, defender of the castle, mixer to make giant cakes, or whatever my imagination took a fancy to.
When grandfather was alive, he told me stories about the machine, then wink at me when grandmother chastised him for filling my head with fluff.
Now it was grandmother’s head full of fluff. I didn’t mind hearing the same stories over and over; I helped fill in the blanks when she forgot a word, a person’s name, or time frame.
She passed last year. Every Sunday, I go to the cemetery to talk to her.
I never did find out what great-grandmother’s invention was for, and why it was worth a fortune.