Monday, June 22, 2015

Let Me Tell You About My Ma

Just before Father’s Day (like one day before) I was scrambling to get the "perfect" Father’s Day card for Mr. Lucky. The tireless father to our two sons certainly deserved more than a card that read ‘For my best friend, my lover, and my everlasting soulmate’ on the outside. On the inside ‘and occasionally all three of you piss me off.’ So, I opted for a nice sentimental card, just on the fringes of being too gushy. The other one is still tucked in my desk drawer waiting for the perfect occasion and, of course, the misplaced envelope.
Moving along....while perusing the FD (that’s Father’s Day) cards I noticed one that honored a mother for being both a mother and a father. It occured to me later, as things often do, that this would have been perfect for my mom. She was widowed at the age of 31 with three kids to raise. Looking back I don’t have a clue as to how she managed it. She didn’t drive. The upside of that was that we/she didn’t have car expenses. The price of gas was of no concern to her. Groceries were, however. They were always there, too. She raised a vegetable garden which was rivaled by her beautiful flowers.  I could go on and on about her cooking skills.

She had a way about getting her point across that didn’t require lectures, spanking, or curfews. If we, my brother, sister, and I fought we were required to sit on chairs, back-to-back and watch the clock. And no talking. I don’t recall the time frame. At the time it seemed like 2 hours, but it was probably closer to 10 or 15 minutes.
One time I complained about the way she put the clean sheets on my bed. Well, guess what! The next week on change day the sheets were removed and the clean sheets were waiting for me to make up the bed. I think I was about 8 or 9. Then there was the morning that I neglected to eat my oatmeal. It was waiting for me at lunchtime.  (That was back in the day when town kids were expected to go home for lunch). Have you ever had cold oatmeal? Later when I was "allowed" to take a sack lunch I fussed about the way she made my sandwich. Too much butter. That was the end of her lunch making.  After that I was on my own..

Mom, or Ma, as I called her–much to her chagrin, had grit. When I was 6, my brother 9, and my sister 11 she packed our suitcases, left the family dog with Grandma and off we went to southern California to visit her father–on the train, of all things. Can you image? Three kids on a train for 1500 miles? One of our train changes was out in the proverbial middle of nowhere in the dark of night. The ‘depot’ was closed so we sat on our suitcases outside waiting for the train. Things were different in the 50's. She had not been much further than Lewiston, Idaho herself at that time. We made it down and back just fine. I have witnessed people who have trouble taking their kids to K Mart.
One fine summer evening she and my Aunt Margaret sent all of us "kids" to the movie....the three of us and four cousins. While we were gone she and Margaret laid new linoleum in the kitchen. All in an evening’s work.
I’m not sure but I think Nike got their slogan from her. You know..."just do it".

She had outlived two husbands, one son, her parents, and most of her friends, before she went to the great garden in heaven. I miss her every day. Anyway to make a long story short she was the best Dad in the world too.  

I have a book called "Oh, No! I’ve Become My MOTHER". I should be so lucky!

This picture was taken at her 90th Birthday Clebration.  On the right is my beautiful sister, Judy.  Some people say we resemble one another.