Part 6: "Why waste the milk? It tastes good too!"

America happened and at Moby's, down foggy Veranda St in sometimes Sunny Portland, good times were had. But Moby's wasn't on the 4th, but Moby's was so goddamn American that it happened two days after the 4th.

But on the 4th, good ol' trashy Maine fun went down up on the Eastern Prom, my first 4th of July up there. I worked on the boats for 5 straight years, badly burning my hand on the bilge pump of the Island Holiday one year. I went to Mercy Hospital- not knowing I'd be back there a couple years later.

Cause see Gram is getting a little old- a little on in years- and on Thursday they outfitted her with oxygen because her lungs were damn near spent. Gram lives on her own, a few miles from Mom & Dad's, in a small apartment that lacks proper ventilation, but has plenty of juicy gossip loudly pouncing up and down the hallways that even though she says she is, Gram is rarely bored.

On Friday, Gram was rarely breathing.

I was the first one there and Gram's hair was sticking almost entirely up on end. She was at her table, sucking down this steroid-induced breathing machine with the hopes that it would let her breathe. We went into her room and I got her calmed down, laid down, and resting with the oxygen properly placed in her nostrils. One of Gram's nostrils is a little funky and dips out on the side. This caused problems because the tube on that side continually kept coming out.

- She's a mess, I said to Dad.

- Okay. We'll be right over.

And following them was the ambulance and the fire truck and another trip down to Mercy with Gram. The last time we did this was my parents anniversary. This time Mom rode in the ambulance and I followed, listening as the Sox fell behind 3-0 to the Yanks in the first.

It seemed like nothing was going to work out. Not even for Josh Beckett.

In the Emergency Room, there were few places to sit except for an empty gurney and a chair or two. Mom swiped a sandwich out of a fridge and Gram fidgeted with her I.V. and the oxygen, now properly placed even more so in her nose. Her hair had been matted down, fixed up a bit, and she really wanted to know when am I gettin' out of here.

Well, Gram's still there and now she's in Freeport, having her breathing worked on. She had pneumonia, among other problems, and ultimately it was a good thing she took the ambulance ride. She's getting the help she needs and while dancing might not be happening, she'll be at the wedding at the end of the month. Mom's getting better and Erin got her lobster. The 4th continued on up on the Prom at Dom's place with America downing beers and lighting sparklers, proudly declaring that America...

It doesn't matter what America the country does or America the Sea Captain says, though. It doesn't even matter that Gram had her teeth out Monday morning because she was funny as hell talking about drinking the milk after a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, wondering if the nutritionist was a girl or just a you know looking fella, making time with her neighbors visitors, and dangling her chicken legs from beyond her blanket because I'm neither! I'm not hot or cold! She was fine and feeling better. She was concerned- not about her health, but about the election. She needed to better informed, she told Mom.

At 92 years old, she needs to be better informed.

At 28 years old, I just need to be informed.

We take things one thing at a time in this family.

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