essays

Mom Wins the Gold -- Again   

pine orchardNothing gets in the way of routine at Mom's place in Connecticut. It's good to know what is supposed to happen because when it happens, it is  accompanied by quite a few “orders,” considerable confusion, and it happens fast. Bill arrives at 9 AM to take Mom on a little ride to the grocery store where she buys her two bananas, a loaf of bread, and a slice or two of ham for lunch. Today when she returns there is a huge bowl on the kitchen counter of cut up fruit that I have prepared for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Mom: “What’s that?”

Lucy:  “It’s fruit Mom, for the kids.”

Mom: “Move it! Bill sits on the stool here and eats a cookie.”

She waves the huge bowl, and everything else I had neatly set out, with her once mighty backhand down the counter into the far back corner court. I catch it with a powerful forehand undercut return stroke bringing the bowl to a standstill just short of what might have been a messy situation.

Lucy: “Okay Mom. I get it.  Maybe Bill would like some fruit and a muffin.”

Mom: “He eats a cookie.”

Lucy:  “Bill, would you like to have some fresh fruit, a muffin and a cup of tea?”

Bill:  “No, it’s okay. I eat a cookie.”

Lucy: “You could say you ate a cookie and eat fruit and a muffin instead.”

Bill:  “Don’t think so.”

Mom:  “Ok, Bill. Did you eat your cookie? Well, see you tomorrow at 9 AM.”

Lucy: “Bill, you are getting booted—that’s terrible. Mom, for heaven’s sake can’t you be polite. Bill’s your friend, and we’d like to talk to him.”

Mom:  “Time for him to go.”

Bill:  “It’s ok. It’s the routine.”

pine orchard

Last weekend my brother called me after dinner at the Club to say that Mom won the gold -- twenty-five minutes from getting ready to leave the house to returning to her card table and solitaire. She whipped the Club into shape big time and was in and out with a flourish of her cane and a few comments about not needing desert as she had cookies at home which is something she has to hurry home to, it seems.

This time she sat patiently (and maybe painfully) but with her grandsons attending to her every need and translating the conversation into the correct decibels so she’d know what was going on. Mom spent two and a  half hours at that dinner, eleven of us in all, without a whimper or an order (Well, I was at the other end of the table.) It must have been hard not being able to see or hear very well, but it was quite clear she had a good time watching the rest of us enjoy one another. Mom, you win the gold alright. This time for tolerance and the matriarchal example. There are eighty-two  years between you and your oldest grandchild. I can well imagine that if it weren’t for the principle of family, you would have been quite happy in your own world, in your own little bed, listening to the Yankee game on the radio and slipping gently in and out of sleep. You win all the prizes Mom; you really do.

Lucy Noyes is co-founder of La Puerta Real Estate Services, LLC, 505-867-3388 outside Albuquerque, New Mexico and has a million stories in her head, just waiting to get out.

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