She sits in the rocking chair by the phone looking out the window, listening to the now and then sound of a passing car and watching the sun go down over the dark purple silhouettes of mountains in the west.

The receding winter sun, a brilliant smoldering orb, slides over the edge of the mountain, its rays skittering a last kiss of warmth over the blue fields of snow. Slivers of fading sunlight trim the glass of the kitchen window.Since she is almost blind, most of this is seen only dimly - just a spot of orange and an overcast shape of grayish blue. The rest, from memory, is imagined, though she knows it is there.

In the windowsill, house plants watered on a weekly schedule soak up the last rays of fading sunlight. There used to be philodendrons, lots and lots of starts of philodendrons, developed from a start brought back from southern Utah during a funeral trip several years ago. The philodendron on the table is the only one left from all those. The plants in the windows now are pepperonia - that's what someone said they were called. They all came from a single plant she got in church on Mother's Day one year.

Sunday night.

The kids usually come on Sunday. She wonders if anyone will come tonight. When the girls come they fight for the rocker. If one gets up for a cracker the other makes a dash for the rocker. Probably comes from when they were little, when their dad would rock them and sing songs to them while waiting for supper. Now, even though their own kids are grown, they still fight for the rocker. It is an unspoken ritual.

The smell of roast beef. Sunday dinner.

The kids and their spouses would come for Sunday dinner when they were first married, the ones who lived close enough. As their own kids started to come along the Sunday dinner visits turned into just Sunday visits. Now there are no more roast beef Sunday dinners. At family gatherings the main course is much more simple now - sliced ham, buttered rolls, potato chips, "finger" jello and soft drinks in those new plastic bottles. Everything's on paper plates and in plastic cups so there's hardly any cleanup. With all the grand-kids it's a lot simpler that way.

Wonder if any of the grandkids will come tonight - of those that are left, that is. Only the little ones left with their folks anymore, and none of them are little, really. Scattered from New Jersey to California and all points in between. It's getting harder to keep track of them all.

The sun is almost gone. Instead of light coming in the big kitchen window on the porch, there is light going out now, bleached fluorescent light from a single fixture over the table. Time to close the drapes.

A couple of cars go by. She hears one slowing down. It stops. The engine dies. There is the sound of slamming doors. In a minute there will be the swish of air in a vacuum as the storm door is opened. There will be the quick rush of a cold draft as the wooden door swings in.

She waits to see who it will be.