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  • Writer's pictureDella Pierson

I pulled up to the Canadian border with a giant knot in my stomach. I had jumped through all the hoops, and was there on time for my designated appointment but I was still worried I might be denied entry. The border patrol guy was very official and I showed him my information, including my negative covid test and told him where I was going. When he told me to proceed, I was overcome with emotion and started to cry. He just looked at me and said, ”Whoa, what’s happening here?” I explained that I hadn’t been home to Canada since February of 2020. He leaned on his booth and asked who I was going to see. I told him I was going to see my mom, my mother in law and my grandmother for her 100th birthday. “100?” I nodded through my tears, “Yup!” He was genuinely happy that I was “home” and told me to hug all the ladies and have a great time.


I had been very conflicted about going to see Nana for her birthday. We had talked about it and she downplayed the importance of her birthday. With covid still rearing its ugly head, I was hesitant, BUT, I had to go! I mean, come on, turning 100 is a huge deal! I sat in bed one night and bought my tickets, rented a car and found a hotel. Done deal! I didn’t tell her, that way she couldn’t talk me out of it. I told myself even if I only got to see her once from her balcony, it would be worth it.


Thursday Sep 16th 6 PM

Finally done with work, I gassed up the car and packed. I checked and triple checked all m my documents. Stop! I had to tell myself to put them in one place and try with all my might to remember that place!!!

Friday Sep 17th

4 AM, up and at’em. I told Dan to take a good look at me in case I can’t get back into the US. I hit the road at 6 and crossed the border at 830. I got to my mom’s place in Niagara Falls and toured her beautiful garden. Then we hit my favorite chip wagon (always time for fries), and headed to the airport in Hamilton for my 330 flight.

I was double masked and on my way to Calgary. I arrived, got the rental car and headed to my brother Mike’s to pick him up. Inside Nana’s apartment, she said hello to Mike and turned to me and asked who I was. I pulled down my mask and just grinned at the shocked look on her face.


“Yup, it’s me, Nana Banana!”

After 2 long years I got to hug my tiny grandmother and see her beautiful face in person. Of course, the tears started. It was wonderful to see her apartment with its infamous collection of blue glass and the needlework on her walls done by the various women in our family, including me.

“Make some tea!”

Have some cookies!”

She always has cookies. We visited until about 10 and then I drove my brother home and checked into the hotel about 11. It was 1 AM in NY so I was pretty pooped. I had hugged my Nana, the trip was already worth it!!!

Saturday Sep 18th

I was awake before dawn! Jet lag is tough stuff when you’re old! I got to Nana’s about 11 and she was not very perky. We visited and she napped off an on. I went and got us some A & W. I ordered the impossible burger and she could not believe how good it tasted, and we had fries too because we both love fries. At 7 pm on the button, we watched The Lawrence Welk Show. When I’m at home, I always wait until after Lawrence Welk to call and she always tells me how good the singing and dancing was. She insists that I would love it if I just gave it a try. Well folks, we watched the “Down on the Farm” episode and one of us enjoyed it way more than the other! That’s ok, we were together doing something she loved.

Sunday Sep 19th

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANA!! Today is the big day. It was a beautiful day for the parade that my aunt had arranged. I went to her apartment and decorated her balcony. She was wearing one of the birthday skirts I sent her, a tiara and the 100 glasses. She looked adorable. I went and bought a big bunch of balloons for the car and then took my place in line to go around the block. THREE fire trucks, a gazillion cars, the mayor and a Mountie! Hell yeah, turning 100 is a huge deal! Nana stood on her balcony and waved and smiled. What an amazing experience! She is so beloved by so many and it truly warmed my heart to see the turnout for her. I went around the block 4 times and honked my horn to the point of obnoxiousness! Cause, you know, that’s what I do.

Although Sunday was a day of celebration, it was also a day of sadness for me because I was going home early the next morning. I saw her that evening and we talked about how we’d had each other and been friends for my whole life. I held her hands and marveled at how my hands were aging like hers did at my age. Reality is hard. I may never see those hands again. They have done so much in 100 years: baked, farmed, made beautiful music on numerous instruments, hugged her family, and answered the phone every Saturday night right after Lawrence Welk to tell me how good it was. I told her how much I love her and hugged her maybe a little too hard.

Monday Sep 20th

4 AM wake up, 6 am departure for the airport, 930 flight. Hmmm, this all felt vaguely familiar! I arrived back in Hamilton and there was my Mom in her trusty popemobile to pick me up. I went for a quick visit with my mother-in-law and headed to the border with the same knot in my stomach that I had 3 days ago.

The border patrol guy asked me why I was in Canada. When I told him I had been there to celebrate my grandmother’s 100th birthday, he said, “Jeez, what do you buy someone who’s 100?

I told him I bought her sparkly 100 glasses and he responded with, “Yeah that….or booze!” And with that, he waved me through and I was back in the US and heading home.

I arrived home around 9 pm and called Nana to tell her I had made it safely. We had a good laugh about what the border patrol agent had said.

Just like that, the 100 hours were over. The celebration was over. The trip was over. But, tucked away is the sweet memory of me holding her hands, a memory that I can visit at any time or I can just look down at my own hands and see hers in mine

I love you forever Nana, even if you did make me watch Lawrence Welk.


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  • Writer's pictureDella Pierson

When I first began an active lifestyle, it started with a 5k, I caught the running bug and moved up to the half marathon, and the next year, I ran a full marathon. Then along came triathlon and every year I kicked it up a notch to the 70.3 distance. Last year I did a century ride on my bike. This year’s challenge was to go back to the 5K, but with a mermainian twist!

Mirror Lake, August 20, 2021. I swam 5 dang kilometers! 3.2 miles! 5655 yds! It took me 2 ½ hours, not fast but comfortable cause that’s how this mermaid rolls.

Now, why did I do this? Good question. I signed up to swim this distance in an organized event and the course was ¾ of a mile short. Fuuuuck! Anyone who knows me knows that I just couldn’t live with that unfinished business.

So, there I was on a beautiful morning in the Adirondacks ready to make it happen for real and sincerely hoping the bottle of wine I drank the night before as my hydration wasn’t going to bite me in the ass. There is a great system of buoys and underwater cables in the lake that make for straight swimming instead of a 5k of zig zagging. With that, and Dan and Brian as my kayakers, I was set. Their job was to yell at, distract or beat any random paddle boarders, kayakers or fish that got in my way.

The water was perfect. I mean, mermaid perfect!! I felt relaxed and strong. You think of a lot of things when you’re in the water that long. I thought a lot about food and how I was going to replenish the 10,000 calories I was burning. Turns out it was only 880 calories. So much for 2 orders of fries. I also thought about the Johnson and Johnson lie that their baby shampoo is no tears. I put too much in my goggles and didn't rinse well enough and ended up with a bloodshot pirate eye for 3 days which was intensely magnified because I had to wear my coke bottle bottom glasses! For a full half mile, I felt like there was a slippery piece of seaweed on my face which was weird because there wasn’t any seaweed. Yup, turns out it was my own snot. That led to other thoughts about water cleanliness...Yucko! OK Pierson, you’ve swam at Jamesville beach, head down, new thoughts. Hmmm, no fish, so that’s another plus over Jamesville beach. Oh, yay, my watch vibrated, (it does that every 500 yds) how many times had it done that so far? 100? 200? I lost track after the first few. Dammit, why do I have to be such a stubborn jerk and get myself into these things? Oh yeah, the glory, bragging rights and the mimosa at the end.

1000 yds to go, straight down the middle of the lake. I’m jacked up on my caffeinated blocks and ready to be done.

500 yds, more seaweed on my face….nope.

I was finally at the beach and staggered out. My people were there to celebrate with me. As we toasted with mimosas, that was when I found out there really was some excitement out there. Unbeknownst to me, I almost had a head on collision with another swimmer. Dan was banging his paddle on the kayak and finally the other swimmer looked up and avoided me. Well, you know, I was probably too wrapped up in my important thoughts of glory, mimosas and snotweed to hear the commotion.

So, there you have it, my big accomplishment of 2021. What’s in store for next year? I’m sure I’ll come up with something I’ll love to hate….until it’s done.

Mermaid out.


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  • Writer's pictureDella Pierson

Ahhh! The fleeting 50s! By far, my best decade. I’m not sure where it went but holy shit, it’s gone. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my fascinating existence so here goes...


On March 8th I had hip resurfacing surgery. Yes, I am now BIONIC! Arthritis had finally taken its toll and I could barely walk, let alone run. The goal of this surgery versus a total hip replacement is to be able to do high impact activities again, and yes, training for and running the NYC marathon in 2022 qualifies as high impact! So, we moved the spare bed downstairs into the living room, borrowed a giant raised toilet seat and a walker, then headed off to Crouse at o’dark hundred that morning. I was supposed to come home that day but due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up staying overnight. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty grateful to stay. However, there was an issue I never saw coming…..the dreaded bedpan! Now, I had never used a bedpan before and was seriously concerned about, well, you know, things! I started to cry and the nurse asked what was wrong and I told her, “I think I have to poop!” She nonchalantly said, “Well, go ahead.” Now, I can surely poop in the woods, but it’s only me and the wildlife who will ever see that, so, no big deal. How could this young 25 year old with a blue streak in her hair and fancy nails look at an old lady's poop? Well, what are you gonna do? She brought the bedpan and the urge to poop immediately vanished. Peeing was no better. I had the sensation that I was peeing all over the back of my legs. More waterworks! I did prevail though and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th times were easier. I’m lying, I cried every time.


3 weeks into recovery, I turned 60. Pandemic, a walker, Dan helping me with socks and undies, what’s there to celebrate? Ummm, turning 60, that’s what! I really wanted a real live race with a big after party with Trish Delish and pizza but effin covid! So, I invented and put on my own virtual race, Tutu Foolish 6.0K. I had great help with the registration and swag and whaddaya know, people actually signed up! 156 people! I was blown away when the registrations started coming in! It really was fun and took my mind off laying in bed. I would text Dan who was just upstairs, probably trying to stay away from me, “I’m up to 10, nope 11, nope, 12…” You get the idea, I was excited. AND then, on my actual birthday, I had a tutu parade of runners who did the race from my house! I went out and hugged them all. Runners are the best! All totalled, after all the race finances were taken care of, I was able to write a check to the Alzheimer’s Association of CNY for $4000! I'm pretty proud of myself and humbled by the number of participants. Next year, I want that live race with the big after party!!!

Tutus weren’t the only great thing about turning 60. A friend dressed up as a sexy cop and showed up at my house and I had no idea who it was. I went out with friends to our favorite restaurant that we hadn’t been to in over a year. I got fully vaccinated. AND, wait for it... I quit my job! 18 years! 60 makes you think things, like, “This isn’t fun anymore” and “Why not try something new?” Life is short and there is too damn much fun to be had! I have a new job so I’ll be learning new things and meeting new people. Wish me luck, maybe they’ll be open to the tutu lifestyle!


Three months into recovery and I am swimming, riding my bike and yearning for the day when I can run again. I'm using my time between jobs to love my garden again, re-arrange Wonderland for the summer and do the niggly jobs that I hate to do. I even changed the handle on the toilet! I surely thought that was a boy job for Dan but nope, I took care of that shit! That’s what 60 year olds do!

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