July 27, 2022. My mom would be 98 today, an age few people live to become. I can understand and accept that, of course. But she died at age 58, which was a lot harder to accept and understand. When someone has been gone for so long, you only have distant memories to recall, the same ones on a repeating reel.
Maybe that’s why I write about my mom more than my readers might want to hear, but it’s a way for me to preserve her memory. Here are a few of my favorite posts about her:
- What Mom Told Vince, She Told Me. Despite what some people say, I can be a good listener, and I was that day.
- Many Years Ago on Mother’s Day. It was a tradition in my family that Mom rocked us on our birthdays.
- Dear Mom. We used to write letters to each other, back when people did that kind of thing.
- Elegy for Irene Klein. This one is a little sad.
And then a memory surfaced while I was writing this and thinking about my mom: I was cast as “The Cow All White and Red” for our kindergarten Christmas play about the birth of Jesus. I was not happy about it. I wanted to be Joseph, or at least one of the Three Kings bearing exotic gifts for the newborn king. But no, I’m a barnyard animal. My mother fashioned me a costume out of an old white sheet she spraypainted with big red circles. I hated it. I had a few lines: “I am the cow all white and red, I breathe upon the baby’s head, I keep him warm in his tiny bed, I am the cow all white and red.” Brilliant writing, whoever came up with those words.
It wasn’t long after that my family was in the car, my father driving, and we passed a field where cows were grazing and my mother said, “Look! Hi, David! Hi, David!”
I blew up at her. “Don’t say that! I’m not a cow! Don’t say that!”
I think she was startled by my outburst, because she was only trying to be funny. What an overly sensitive boy she had. But she saw how upset I was and she took me in her arms and said she was sorry, she’d never do that again. And she didn’t. And I’ve gotten a little tougher since then.