Sunday, March 30, 2014
Fighting the Decrepit
In my head, I always hear it with the small town Carolina accent of my dad's family. DEE-crpiht.
As in, "that there's a DEE-crpiht shack. Someone oughta tear it down."
Or, "that schoolhouse has gone past DEE-crpiht. I done told the schoolboard."
Mostly, in my grandmother's voice, "I am just gone and DEE-crpiht."
Like those shacks and schoolhouses, my grandmother gradually crumbled under the oppressive heat and humidity of the South. Not a growing thinner and more brittle kind of decline, as with my Colorado grandmother. No, this was a Southern one, where she grew heavier and lost limbs to the rotten rampages of diabetes, as if she'd been overgrown with the kudzu vines of poor diet and nonexistent exercise.
I share her physiology. Every year seems to make the struggle against encroaching weight and flabbiness that much more difficult. I eat (mostly) well and put the miles in on my treadmill desk, but she's on my mind. The "crepit" in decrepit is from the Latin crepare, to make a noise.
I make the noises she did - the groan in bending over. The snap-crick of my joints. I relive her legacy even as I fight it. All these things I inherited from her - the stubborn Scottish smarts, the love of sugar and a long conversation, the tendency to comfortably thicken and spread.
She'd laugh to see my treadmill desk. She'd shake her head at me and tell me to come sit down, have a glass of sweet tea.
But I won't. I drink my tea unsweet and I walk on. Staving off the onslaught of the vines.