Category Archives: Mom

Mom’s Bitter Vivid Memory

Memory on the Menu

Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?

Six months ago while my mom was still 99 I visited with her.

On the stand next to her chair was a picture of her entire school when she was in the first grade. It was grades 1st t0 8th. There were approximately 75 students. She had the names of at least 3/4 of the students written above them. The picture was taken in 1920.

“Wow, Mom,” I said, “that’s incredible how you remember all those people.”

She smiled.

I scanned the photo and saw a boy who looked as though he might have been a couple years ahead of mom. He had a goofy smile on his face.

“Whose this kid? I don’t know how you could ever forget him.” I said. “He looks like a real character.”

Mom pursed her lips together. “That’s Larry Patterson.”

“Why didn’t you write his name?”

“That little b*****d pissed on me,” she said vengefully, “and I’m not about to write his name.”

“How did that happen?” I asked.

“He was standing on a limb in a tree and called me over,” Mom said. “And when I looked up, he flipped it out and let it go – little b******d.”

“Wow, Mom, you really hold a grudge,” I said.

“Damn right, I do.”

Here is a link to the final episode of my short story for the day is the day, Romancing Ted.

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Mom

A Thanksgiving Mom Won’t Forget

Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past

What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.

Dad’s dream was to own his own business. That’s sort of everybody’s dream, but Dad wanted to own a bar (actually ‘bar’ is too sophisticated; “beer joint” would be more apropos).

This was what my Mom had in mind when it came to Thanksgiving.

Dad’s business plan was to sell beer. Food was something he would offer to keep the customer there to drink more beer. On the other hand; Mom’s plan was to provide good meals and the beer would come as a compliment to the food. Dad wanted a bar/restaurant and Mom wanted a restaurant/bar.

This sort of tug of war is nothing unusual. Everything is perspective and one trying to accommodate the other, but frankly accommodation was the furthest thing from Dad’s mind.

Dad’s first year in the “beer joint” business, like all businesses, was tough. The first big holiday to come along was Thanksgiving. He knew that week would be bad. In the “beer joint” business it’s all about the weekend Thanksgiving takes the weekend away.

We all have an idyllic view or memory of Thanksgiving; a farm, a field with a dusting of snow, and a warm home full of the aromas of food and family.

Traditionally our family had Thanksgiving dinner at Mom’s sister’s home. They lived on a farm and had plenty of room to accommodate the entire family. There is nothing more pleasing and heartwarming than a Thanksgiving meal on a quaint bucolic farm setting; fields with a dusting of snow and walking into a warm kitchen full of the aroma of good home cooking.

Dad envisioned a big Thanksgiving meal at the bar where the beer flowed freely: an open invitation to all patrons and their families. Mom wanted to spend Thanksgiving with her family; in thankful grace and reverence.

Dad won out.

Mom invited her family.

Mom’s Father, Mother, and Sister belonged to the Church of the Brethren. There was no beer, no cursing, and no farting at the table.

Dad thought there was nothing better to be thankful about than a bar full of beer drinkers.

Mom and Dad arranged that the family could have a large room separate from the hedonistic bar clientele. What was great about this room was that not only was it more than large enough for all the families; it had a shuffle board, two pinball machines, an old honky-tonk piano, and a jukebox. Mom’s family opted for the more traditional setting. Mom’s sister played church music as bad as anybody on the piano and if there was one thing that old piano needed was some religion – even if off-key.

As it turned out Mom’s puritan and prudish family decided at the last-minute a bar on the seedy side of town was not a proper place to give thanks. When Mom said, “Maybe we can do it for Christmas,” there was silence.

Mom prepared three turkeys, a ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, Mom’s signature cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie. Not only did the family shun us, but not one patron showed up for the Thanksgiving meal.

When it became clear no one was showing up; Mom called a local homeless shelter and donated some of the food.

My two sisters and I missed our cousins, but it was one of the few meals, if not the only, I remember as a family.

When we gathered with Mom’s family the meal was started with a blessing. This privilege was reserved for my younger cousin. He mumbled it so fast I never understood him. I always wondered what was the difference in that, than saying what our family normally said; “Let’s eat!” Was he truly thankful or just as anxious to eat. Come to think of it; he always got the first scoop of mashed potatoes.

During the meal Mom was quiet. I saw a tear or two roll from her eye. After the meal Mom, my two sisters, and I played a couple games of shuffle board. Mom was really good at it and smoked us all. Dad sat at the table having his traditional Thanksgiving drink; Burger Beer.

It ended up being a pretty happy time. We listened to Hank Williams and Hank Snow on the Jukebox. My sisters were eight and ten years older than me. I was seven. They danced with me. Dad danced with Mom to their favorite song, “Now is the Hour.” We cleared the table and washed dishes. As nightfall came we turned on the TV that sat above the bar. Dad, Mom, my sisters, and I sat at the bar on bar stools with our beverage of choice watching TV.

That was not the traditional Thanksgiving setting. Dad fixed Mom a highball (gin and Squirt). It seemed to chase the blahs away.

As I was writing this I gave Mom a call and asked her if she remembered the Thanksgiving our family had at the bar. She said, “I sure do; nobody showed up.”

It was a great Thanksgiving for me. I wasn’t under the critical eye of my grandparents. I wasn’t upstaged by my younger cousin who knew one repetitious prayer (I knew all the words to Hank Williams’ Jambalaya), my Dad didn’t have to watch his bad language, my sisters got to do jitterbug, and Mom showed us a few Charleston steps.

I’m sure Mom’s family had a good time, but to this day no one is more thankful than I for having Thanksgiving in a bar: excuse me – beer joint on the seedy side of town.

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Mom

Never Write About Your Mother (short fiction)

Daily Prompt: Keep Out

Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog? Why?

Cal sat at the kitchen table of his mother’s home and had a coffee with her.

“What do you want to talk about today?” Cal said happily.

“Writing is stupid,” Betty said. “Writers are weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers and I don’t like what you write.”

“Mom,” Cal said. “You read all the time and you like to read. There are some writers you don’t ever miss reading.”

“Yeah,” Betty said. “But you ain’t like them.”

“How so,” Betty said.

“You ain’t never had a brain in your head,” Betty said. “And I know some of your so-called characters are based on me and my family. You make us all look like a bunch of weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers.”

“Mom I write about people,” Cal said. “There are people I used to work with who swear I’m writing about them, but I don‘t. I create characters. It‘s coincidence they have the same traits as people I know. All of us have common traits that show up as characters in novels. My friends know that now.”

“You can’t leave anybody alone,” Betty said. “It’s no wonder you don’t have any friends.”

“I got plenty of friends,” Cal said.

“Yeah,” Betty said. “But they’re all weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers.”

“None of them are what you say they are,” Cal said.

“I just wished you never wrote about me,” Betty said.

“Mom,” Cal said. “Whatever I wrote about you has always been flattering.”

“And it’s been a bunch of horse hockey,” Betty said. “It’s either not true or all made up.”

“Remember the story I wrote about the little boy who was comforted by his mother’s attention to him while he was ill; how she sacrificed, how she cried, how she prayed, and walked through a blizzard to make it to the drugstore to get medicine? That was about you!”

“Yeah,’ Betty said. “But I hated every minute of it.”

“But, it’s how I felt, Mom,” Cal said.

“Who gives a crap about how you felt?” Betty said. “Does it always have to be about you?”

“I don’t get it, Mom,” Cal said. “If I have you in mind when I write, it’s always positive, kind, loving, generous, caring, and compassionate.”

“That’s it,” Betty said. “I ain’t none of those things, never have been and never will be.”

“To me you are,” Cal said.

“I don’t like anything you write,” Betty said. “It’s all stupid. I’d rather read Stephen King, James Joyce, or E. L. James, at least they make sense.”

“Well, they’re good writers,” Cal said. “Well, two of them are.”

“I hate it when I think you write about me,” Betty said. “I can’t live up to your writing.”

“Maybe I can’t live up to your reading,” Cal said.

“Finally some truth,” Betty said. “You just can’t write.”

“Mom, honestly,” Cal said. “Have I ever been able to do anything that lived up to your approval?”

“No!” Betty said. “You could have been a doctor or lawyer.”

“But if I became a doctor,” Cal said. “It would have been the wrong kind.”

“I guess we’ll never know, will we?” Betty said sarcastically.

“If I was a lawyer,” Cal said. “You would not have been happy with that.”

“You would have defended weirdos, perverts, Bohemians, and queers.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Mom,” Cal said.

“I’m not,” Betty said defiantly. “You’ve been a disappointment every step of the way. I keep holding out hope for you. You can leave now. I got some reading to catch up on – by real writers.”

“By the way, Mom,” Cal said as he opened the backdoor, “I don’t know any weirdos, perverts, or Bohemians, but the queer I write about is definitely your brother, Uncle Steve.”

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Mom, Short Stories

My Mom Is 99; Top That!

Mom when she was a teenager. We might call this a glamor shot today. Mom wanted to be an actress.

Mom when she was a teenager. We might call this a glamor shot today. Mom wanted to be an actress.

Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

I’m not an observer or celebrator of Mother’s Day. Let’s be blunt; if one needs a reminder from a TV commercial, a greetings card company, florists, or The Country Buffet maybe things ain’t so good between you and Mom.

If I did something special for her on that day she would call me out on it. “Why can’t you be this nice to me all the time?”

I call her once a week. Sometimes she gets lost in her memories. She will confuse me with her brother who died over twenty years ago. We have the same first name.

I think a lot about Mom these days. She’s ninety-nine. Imagine that! She has outlived her husband, boyfriend, brothers, sister, all her cousins, friends, and two daughters. She’s buried I don’t know how many doctors that has told her to keep her cholesterol down and  lose some weight.

She lived in a time before radio, TV, or any sort of communication as we know it today. Automobiles were rare. An airplane ride was a novelty. She was in high school when the Great Depression started. She was a part of that “greatest generation” where all work was honorable and to be on welfare or the public dole was a dishonor. If you didn’t have a job you looked until you found a job, any job.

That's Mom holding me up. Taken in 1947 at 124 1/2 East Euclid Street, Lima, Ohio.

That’s Mom holding me up. Taken in 1947 at 124 1/2 East Euclid Street, Lima, Ohio.

Mom was a retail clerk, had a laundry route, managed retail stores, worked in factories, cleaned homes, washed dishes, tended bars, and waited tables.

She still lives on her own. She works crossword puzzles every day and still watches soap operas.

Nearly two years ago I posted stories about her for an entire year. They are under the “Mom” category of the right sidebar.

Mother of all bloggers:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ilya Fostiy. A Toy | Bright Moments Catcher
  2. Ilya Fostiy. Amnesia | Bright Moments Catcher
  3. Ilya Fostiy. Remark | Bright Moments Catcher
  4. Daily Post: Hi, Mom! | Charles Ray’s Ramblings
  5. What Is It About Mothers? | Katherine’s Daughter
  6. Sun kissed, Life bound. | caffeinated sonnets
  7. May 12 Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | Nadeen’s Reading Corner
  8. Happy Mother’s Day: A Son’s Appreciation For Mom | Creative Mysteries
  9. DP – Hi, Mom! | Life With Pink Princesses
  10. Salamat Ma | Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | likereadingontrains
  11. Everyday Adventures | Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!
  12. Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! « Mama Bear Musings
  13. My Mum (WordPress Daily Prompt) | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis and Me
  14. Happy Mother’s Day | An Unlikely Gypsy…
  15. My Mom Is 99; Top That! | The Jittery Goat
  16. Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | JUkk
  17. The dirt beneath my feet (Daily Prompt) | liveuntil
  18. Dear Mum … | Purplesus’ Blog
  19. She Got It From Her Mama | That Girl Ryan
  20. 12.5 Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | family photos food & craft
  21. Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | suzie81’s Blog
  22. Mother’s Day – “A Day of Thank You(s)” | Living Life the DOitChoco Way
  23. A Message for A Special Lady | the world behind the lens
  24. Daily Prompt: Hi Mom | Postcards from
  25. To where you are | Relax…
  26. One Man Versus the Traditional Family | One Man Versus the World
  27. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama! | eagerexplorer
  28. Hi, Mom! | The Nameless One
  29. yes, Mom! wow, Mom! | irish noble king
  30. The Other Light: A Mother’s Day Story | theeyelife
  31. My Maamah | Hera Pereira
  32. Daily Prompt: Hi Mom! | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  33. Hi, Mom! | Michael Writes
  34. Dear Mom, Can You Tell Me How You’ve Done It? « littlemisswordy
  35. mon travail | Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!
  36. Six weeks in hospital | Scribbles by a hunglish girl 🙂
  37. World’s best Mama enjoy your day! | Pinkpodster Ponders
  38. Hello Mum | a weirder fetish
  39. Dear Mom | Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | Perfect Medium.
  40. Dear Mama… | Haiku By Ku
  41. Hi, Mom! | Life of a Minister Mom
  42. Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! 12th May 2013 | ittikorn1994
  43. Mother’s Day… | jaycee68
  44. Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | On My Front Porch
  45. My Mother: Daily Post Response | Maggie’s Writing
  46. I Wish You Were a Blogger | Virginia Views
  47. Mother’s Day 2013 Reflections | CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
  48. Mother | FILMS | FOOD | POETRY
  49. Ma | FILMS | FOOD | POETRY
  50. Lydablogger | A Daughter’s Story
  51. My Best Mother’s Day…so far | Essence of Del
  52. To all moms: what your children mean to say on Mother’s Day | Moms Living Leaner
  53. WP Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom! | CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
  54. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama | Pinay New Yorker
  55. An Open Letter to my Jehovah’s Witness Mom | Cozy Compulsions @ Midnight
  56. Mothers, Thank you. | theseeker
  57. A Mother’s Day Note | Colline’s Blog
  58. Happy Mother’s Day! (Comic) | Green Embers
  59. A Letter To My Mom | Little Red Jenn
  60. Daily Prompt: Happy Mother’s Day | My Daily Prompt Blog
  61. Dear Mom | Travellin’ Thru Rambles
  62. Unfinished — Short Story | I am a heathen.
  63. An Open Letter From Mom | Misifusa’s Blog
  64. Experiment. — Dear Mom: Motherhood is a Science and Patience is not a variable. | mommyverbs
  65. Stitching it together: a family art collection for Mother’s Day | caroline larnach
  66. DP Challenge – Hi, Mom | hometogo232
  67. This day I dedicate to mamma | MindBlur
  68. Mom’s Day! | Kaleidoscopic World in Words
  69. Daily Prompt: Hi, Mum! | The Tarot Alchemist
  70. Dear Mom | The Dodson Citizen
  71. Daily Prompt: Mommy | Morrighan’s Muse
  72. Daily Prompt : worth a thousand words | The Road 2 Cute Shoes
  73. I forgive you… | The Local Lens
  74. Dear Mama | The Teen Theme
  75. Floral in Gray: Mother’s Day Rose | 2812 photography
  76. Mothers Day Tears | Sisters of Christ
  77. DEAR MOMMY…do you miss me? | Don’t Carry The Donkey!
  78. Daily Prompt: Hi Mom | Running After Ale
  79. The Woman in the Background | The Other Courtney

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Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays, Mom

I Can’t Write What I Don’t Know

Mom, Dad, Char, and Becky during the war (possibly 1943) before I entered the picture.

Mom, Dad, Char, and Becky during the war (possibly 1943) before I entered the picture.

Daily Prompt: Companionable

Head to one of your favorite blogs. Write a companion piece to their penultimate post.

Heck, I had to look up what “penultimate” meant. That automatically disqualifies me.

What happens to the brain when you run out of things to write about? For one thing, you start thinking about stuff nobody else would possibly think about and call yourself clever.

Estelle Getty as Sophia in the Golden Girls said of Ernest Hemingway, ‘As a writer he dried up, got depressed, and blew his brains out with a shot-gun.” Rather crass, but it was her (Sophia’s) response to a situation.

Anyway, this prompt left me looking for my shot-gun. What is more disturbing is that I have none. I might as well open my desk drawer, dangle my fingers over the edge, slam the drawer, and write about the first word that comes out of my mouth. So in the absence of a shot-gun and a desire not to wake my wife with “Ahhhhh &%*@!”:

I’ll write a little something else. Two days ago I got a package. It was from my niece back in Ohio. It contained some old family photos. They were photos of family, of simple times, and simple ways, and simple people.

Likely the last picture of Dad before an operation disfigured his jaw. It's the way I remember him.

Likely the last picture of Dad before an operation disfigured his jaw. It’s the way I remember him.

No words have come to my fingertips that describe my feelings. I just have a lot of tears. It was as if a door to the past had been suddenly thrust open and I walked in uninvited. My only two siblings have died (sisters). Dad died in ’69 and Mom will be 100 next February. One picture surprised me. I had never seen it before, It was a picture of Dad. It was a picture of him shortly before his cancer operation in ‘62. It is how I remember him before the operation left one side of his face missing half of his jaw bone.

Anyway, that’s what prompted me today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More blogs:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ilya Fostiy. Muse | Inside My Glitching Mind
  2. Ilya Fostiy. A Village | Inside My Glitching Mind
  3. Throb | Sam’s Online Journal
  4. Daily Prompt: Companionable | Alastair’s Blog
  5. Daily Prompt: Companionable « Mama Bear Musings
  6. My Companion List of Quotes | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
  7. Football, Women, Fried Rice and Popcorn. | The Nameless One
  8. Daily Prompt: Companionable | بيسان
  9. 42. Reflections DPChallenge: | Sofie’s Diary
  10. No | Daily Prompt: Companionable | likereadingontrains
  11. These poems are devoted to my family friends and for a special lady Who gave so much when so much was asked was her love fully given | Daniel angel from Cape Cornwall
  12. Parallel universe. | amateurxpress
  13. Daily Prompt: Pair Them Up | My Daily Prompt Blog
  14. Daily Prompt: Companionable 20th April 2013 | ittikorn1994
  15. Daily Prompt: Companiable | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  16. Bizarre world | Spunky Wayfarer
  17. Tango with a stranger | Very Very
  18. Wouldn’t Soar | Maggie’s Stories
  19. April 20 Daily Prompt: Companionable | Nadeen’s Corner
  20. Shooting Stars (A Companion Piece) | Maggie’s Writing
  21. Introducing Balu | aNadventures
  22. Bird Flu Threat on the Horizon | Kansa Muse on Micro Farming and More
  23. Okavango swamps – memories are all we have | Sula1968’s Blog
  24. Daily Prompt: Companionable | Overcoming Bloglessness
  25. In an Area That Made the Top 5 Most Depressing Cities List, I Found Hope | Conversations

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Filed under Dad, Daily Prompt, Essays, Mom

My Mom is Still a Mystery

You might think a grandmother would cherish a letter from a grandchild.

Mom’s actions indicated she never wanted a close relationship with my children, even though they have sought her out.

Nearly two years ago my son wrote her a letter. I know my son loves her, but I am not sure my Mom loves him, let alone knows him. When I asked Mom about the letter she said, “Well he’s got his life and I got mine.”

The question on my mind was, ‘what do you mean by that?’ I didn’t ask it because I don’t want to know and I don’t think Mom knows.

My oldest daughter has written her a few times and Mom never replies.

My youngest daughter was at my sister’s funeral. She sat and talked with Mom and her affect was unemotional.

Nevertheless I want my children and grandchildren to know something about her that may explain her lack of responsiveness.

That brings to mind one final story about Mom:

When she was a young girl her family visited a couple of Aunts in Piqua, Ohio. Mom tried to win there love and attention, but was unable; she perceived it going to her older sister.

This disturbs Mom to this day; events that happened at least ninety years ago.

Mom said she would never treat any of her family that way.

Mom vacationed in Hawaii when my daughters were five and three. When she returned she came by the house and brought my oldest daughter a gift, a dress with a matching blouse. Suddenly she remembered she had nothing for my younger daughter. Mom went though her purse and found a trinket handed out to passengers from American Airlines. That was my younger daughter’s gift.

My daughter accepted the gift, but saw the sharp contrast between her gift and her older sister’s.

Later I said to my Mom, “You being home is the best gift, but if you can’t give something near an equal gift than just bring yourself, that way no child we suffer disappointment.”

The concept seemed strange to Mom. She said, “Than I’ll get them both nothing from now on.”

That was meant to elicit and apology from me. “That will be fine, Mom. Like I said your presence is enough, but please don’t treat one better than the other, remember how that made you feel with your Aunts.”

Mom looked at me as if I was being impertinent. She immediately changed the subject.

That’s it. That’s the last story. That’s the story I’ve waiting to get out.

In some ways these stories probably say more about me and not being able or wanting to confront her every step of the way as she inched further from me and my family. So I don’t know any more now than I did as a teenager. I was hoping for a grand conclusion; something profound and insightful. I think a stranger might know, but not me.

In many ways she is very remarkable and yet in many other ways she remains a mystery. People who are mysteries are that by design. Mom led a life of judging others harshly. Perhaps she has always been in fear of letting others know who she is for fear of the same judgmental attitude toward her she has demonstrated towards others. I must be satisfied that she will take many secrets and mysteries to the grave.

If you have been reader of these episodes about my Mom I hope you have enjoyed them. If you have only read a few of the posts about my Mom the rest are under “Mom” in Categories on the right side bar. When you consider the whole body of work you will likely come to the same conclusions I have; she’s a real hoot!

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There Was Another Side to Mom

Maybe it’s just me, but this ain’t weird, especially when you’re alone.

A year ago I began writing about my Mom. I committed myself to write a story a week for a year. I wanted my Mom to be remembered; for her life to have meaning and form.

Perhaps, in a selfish way, I wanted it to be cathartic. I hoped that writing about her would drive me to understand who she is.

There is another side to Mom. The side I am most aware and familiar.

In my early teens Mom told me she thought I was a weirdo. I stoically walked upstairs to my room and cried. Shortly after that my Dad had a big blow-up. I ran away from home, but returned before anyone knew I was gone. I peddled my bike to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, slept at a roadside park, and came home the next day. As I look back at that time, I don’t think I really came back. We were cordial from that point, but never loving.

Later in life Mom related to me that she talked to my first grade teacher, Miss Kephart. “She said you were a weirdo. (Is that where that came from?) You stayed by yourself and never played with the other kids.”

“I think that’s called being shy,” I said. “Do you know what it’s like to be the only kid in class who didn‘t go to kindergarten? I started out behind and never caught up.”

“What she meant was that you were going to grow up and be different,” Mom said.

I don’t think Mom ever got beyond what Miss Kephart said about me. It stuck with her. She viewed everything I did as weird or different.

I suppose it was scary for Mom to raise a boy. She had two daughters eight and ten years older than me. Mom never adapted very well to change.

Mom and I had some good times together, but suddenly without notice like a psychedelic flash-back Mom would turn somber. It was as if the voice of Miss Kephart was saying, “He’s a weirdo.”

I liked to go to the barnyard and toss a baseball and hit it as far as possible. Go find it and hit it back. Mom said to me one day, “That’s stupid; people will think you’re touched.”

“But Mom,” I said. “I don’t have anybody to toss the ball to me.”

“There’s kids up and down the road, go play with them,” Mom said.

“Mom they don’t want me around,” I said. “They’re all very religious. They know Dad spends all his time at a bar and has a filthy mouth. They don’t want me around. I can feel it. When I go to their homes the parents watch me like a hawk, they got chores inside, we got to get ready to go some place, and sometimes they just don’t come to the door. I don‘t blame them I wouldn‘t want me around either.”

“Sounds like you got a problem,” Mom said. “Go hit your baseball, see if I care.”

It’s sort of funny, I hit the ball much further after conversations like that.

One day Mom said, “What are you doing?”

“I’m reading the encyclopedia from cover to cover,” I said.

“The encyclopedia is to look things up,” Mom said.

“I just want to read it,” I said.

“That’s a waste of time,” Mom said.

My uncle, who lived with us, was sitting in a rocking chair and staring into oblivion. He hadn’t moved in at least an hour.

I nodded my head toward him. “Is that what you want?”

“Don’t be a smart ass,” Mom said.

I’m nearly at the end of my stories about Mom. From time to time one will pop up and I’ll recount it and write about it, but my conclusions about her are at least another story and week away.

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