Tuesday, April 14, 2020

It All Started With a Picture of an Easter Lily

Needing to buy some dog food and a few other items at my local Meijer store a few nights ago, I first went online to check the weekly ad. Looking at the special Easter ad, I believe, I saw a picture of an Easter Lily. My immediate thought was that my mom used to get an Easter Lily each year. She has been gone now for almost four years.

In the 14+ years of this blog, I have written many stories about my dad. However, I don't recall penning too many stories about my mother.

My mother was born in the mid 1920's in Chicago. She dropped out of high school so that she could work to help support her family during the lean years right after the great depression. After marrying my father, she spent her life dedicated to her family, never holding a job outside the house. In fact, she never learned to drive. Being a good Catholic wife, she was pregnant 13 times! thundering36 and I were lucky to make it as she miscarried eight times. She struggled with depression most of her adult life. I really don't know how much the miscarriages factored into that. She was very religious, and was known as being a very generous and sweet woman.

As I look back, there are certain times that vividly stand out in my memory. For your reading pleasure, I present a few of those times.

1) Little lightning messed up his homework
When I was young, I pretty much did what was asked of me in school. Once, in about fifth grade, I waited too long to do my homework. I tried doing it late in the evening, but I was so tired that I couldn't stay awake to concentrate. I thought it was the end of the world and was crying. She came to comfort me and helped me see that things would turn out okay, but that I couldn't be doing that to myself anymore. Funny how something like that has stuck with me until this day.

2) Little lightning was the most embarrassed guy in fifth grade
My younger brother had a case of school phobia. He would sometimes walk almost all the way to school, then ditch once he got there. One day my mom had her friend drive all of us to school, and my mom came along, too. There was a commotion outside the window of my classroom. One kid shouted out "Hey - lightning's brother is running away from school again." And to my absolute horror, a few seconds later I heard "And look: lightning's mom is running after him!" Yep - here was my idiot brother dashing away from school with my mom in hot pursuit. Gosh, was I embarrassed!

3) The hitchhiker
I was somewhere around 16 years old and driving my sister's smoking hot car, a Chevy Camaro. Unfortunately, I was also driving my mother to a store. Right along the roadside, the most beautiful girl in the world (you know - long, pretty hair, short shorts, great figure, cute face) was standing at the side of the road and was ... hitchhiking! Of course, this was every 16-year old guy's dream! Ummm ... but my mom was in the car. I swear that I didn't say anything but must have had the most pained expression in the world on my face. My mom initially said nothing, but after going a block or so down the road, she casually said "I sure bet you wish I wasn't in this car right now." Argggggg!

4) The name
One time, at around 16 years old, I got frustrated at my mom for something. And in the only nasty thing I EVER remember saying to my mom, I called her a bitch. And as you might guess, I paid for that many, many, many times over. 'nough said!

5) Tim Conway and Harvey Korman/The Stars on Ice show
I was looking to get a present for my parents and saw that Tim Conway and Harvey Korman from the Carol Burnett Show were going to be putting on a show in a small theater near my parent's house. I got online at exactly the right moment and was able to purchase two tickets: front row, dead center! As I recall, thundering36 and went inside the theater to help them get to their seats. They were amazed to be sitting in the absolute BEST seats in the house to see people from one of their favorite television shows.

My mom had always been a huge figure skating fan. One of the touring Stars on Ice shows was in my town around Mother's Day, so my wife and I both had our mothers in for the weekend. Once again, I was fortunate to get seats in the front row. As we walked down ... down ... down the stairs in the large hall, my mom was flabbergasted to see that all the skating stars she had watched on television were now skating a few feet away from her. That was the most excited that I had ever seen her in my life. She was like a little kid, telling us who everyone was, where they were from, what Olympic medals they had won, ... Clearly, those tickets had been the best purchase I had made in my entire life.

6) The teasing routines
It was inevitable that one or two things would come up in almost every conversation with my mom during the waning years of her life. One was that she would say "Well, you know, I'm getting older." Before she could even take a breath, I would immediately shout out "Getting? Getting older?" This would always bring a smile to her face. The other was the famous Roseanne Roseannadanna quote from Saturday Night Live: "Well, it just goes to show you: It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another."
I guess that maybe this whole post was just a way of saying that I miss my mother during this Easter season. I was fortunate to have her for a mom, and I hope that some of her best qualities rubbed off on me. If you have a mother (or father) who is still alive, think about doing things for them now while you can. There is no way that you can ever pay them back, but being a parent now myself, I can tell you that even showing parents a little love goes a long way toward melting a loving heart.

Thanks for reading!


Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Thanks a well-written piece.

When I think about calling my Mom, sometimes I think I'll do it tomorrow. Mom is 99 - there may not be too many tomorrows.

9:12 AM  

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