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Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Community Mother, and I remember Momma....

The young man who died accused of setting off the Boston Marathon bombs with his brother was not finding a place for his remains to rest until the Last Day. A mental health counselor sitting in a Virginia Starbucks heard of his insensate plight, sent out an email to the "faith community", and connected with a Muslim group. Arrangements were (legally) made, and the body was buried in a community that is unhappy with it having happened at all, including the local Muslim community.

But it's OK, because Starbucks lady invoked Jesus! She said "Jesus taught to love our enemies". Apparently this means going behind the local community to bury a person who is, based upon the news, loathed because of his murderous actions. (Insert "Godwin's Law" reference here.) Because she felt good about the idea, she has forced this on the community, with her United Methodist pastor's full support.

Jesus said I am to love my enemies. He said nothing of my forcing Rigel, or Michael, or Warren to love my (or even their) enemies. That is between each of them, Jesus, and the enemies. This woman has practiced Federalized faith, forcing what she believes to be right on an entire community, even (and especially) those who do not share her particular sensibilities.

But it's OK. She is happy with her decision.

My mother died half a century ago. Momma suffered (I choose the word precisely) a cerebral hemorrhage and left us. I was more angry than sad at the time, and within a week my living arrangements were changed, going from my stepfather (whom I adored, but who had not yet adopted me) to my father and his parents' household.

Fast forward fifty years. A month or so ago, we were having the kids over for fajitas or somesuch, and the Dread Dormomoo and I were in the kitchen talking. Something was said, about what I do not remember and suddenly, there it was. I missed Momma. Half a century later, I missed Momma, and I began to cry like a five-year-old. My sweet wife came over from the sink, enfolded me in her arms, and...was a comfort. I wept...not for long, but enough. I finally was able to grieve for the loss of my Momma, after fifty years. I have no idea what triggered it, and I had no revelations or deep experiences beyond finally grieving. No lessons, just a very strange experience.

For those who have their Mothers, a happy Mothers Day to them and to you. To those without Mothers, remember the good times and the joys, and have a happy Mothers day.


Michael W said...

My Mom was Anne Marie Dunk Wolff. She didn't like the name "Anne" so she always referred to herself as Marie. Her sisters called her "Titter".

She must have provided the genes for my kidneys as we often met each other on the way to the bathroom (one of the happiest moments in our lives was when I finally left home and we could stop arm wrestling for toilet space. It was from Mom I learned the virtue of having two bathrooms in one home).

Woefully . . . and I mean woefully provincial. To her way of thinking the World was made up of Travis and Bastrop counties. Everything else would've been marked "Unknown Territory" on the map of her mind.

One of my earliest memories is of being with her in a darkened pharmacy in the Delwood Shopping Center.

In the last year or so of her life she took to wearing little hats with large flowers on them. People thought she looked like an elf.

She possessed a sense of humor which would appear at the most unexpected times. When she laughed she absolutely cut loose.

Whenever she used my entire name I knew I was in Serious Trouble.

In my halcyon days she took to babysitting to supplement the family income. Her clientele was usually families in the more well-to-do portions of Austin (including, at one time, a State Congressman). A child of the Great Depression she automatically believed that People With Money were, by default, far more virtuous than us.

She was initially reluctant to have me go to college, fully believing that I'd end up smoking dope and dating black girls.

Speaking of dope: one summer afternoon I accompanied her to the Texas Highway Department headquarters in Austin. She somehow latched onto the notion that marijuana was growing behind our barn and was taking a sample to have it identified. The nice officer who spoke with Mom patiently explained that no, it wasn't marijuana. Fortunately it also wasn't poison ivy.

Twice she narrowly escaped being bitten by rattlesnakes.

In a kitchen she was Stokowski. She was Rembrandt. She possessed eighty-two million and four recipes and kept them all in her head. I feel I now make fairly decent fried chicken, but I know I'll never be able to match hers (for one thing, Mom had a cast iron skillet. I don't have a cast iron skillet).

Her approach to medicine was sort of like the old vaudeville routine. "Mom, my arm hurts when I move it that way." "Well don't move it that way."

If you were an actor, and your first name was "Van", then Mom adored you.

Memorable Mother/Son Bonding Moment: the two of us watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof together.

Totally devoted to her marriage vows, and definitely not a supporter of women's rights. After Dad died, and with all of us kids now grown and pretty much established, she just sort of faded away, lasting less than a few years. These days whenever I think of her I think of clothes drying out on a line, her constant surprise at how calmly I could read while she was driving, the way she used to indulge both my younger sister and myself (she had felt guilty because she believed she had showered too much attention on my older sibs), Lawrence Welk music, Winston cigarettes, caramel corn, her 40th birthday, the wrinkles of her skin and the value of Loyalty.

(And I really wish I could fry chicken the way she could.)

Doom said...

I can't add much. Well, I will channel a bit. Get a cast iron pan! It is so easy to use. Just don't wash with soapy water, keep it oiled, and put salt in the bottom if you aren't going to use for a bit... helps with rust.

I have three moms. Know them all, if one more than the others. They all terrify me, if in an easier way now. Full name indeed. I still dream of hearing my full name, come stark awake at it too. My main, the notion of her passing... One of Doom's most sensitive Achilles' heels. Danged woman isn't picking up the phone though. I hope someone took her out for Mother's Day. She is a mom to many, grandmother to even more, none of blood, like me.

-Warren Zoell said...

Moms are the best.
Michael - Get an iron skillet. You won't regret it.
They have to be prepared before you can use them though.
You rub the whole skillet down with cooking oil and bake it in the oven at 350ยบ for an hour. I'm serious.
If you can find a used one that's turned black that's even better.

The Aardvark said...

Listen to Warren about that skillet!

Hope all you guys had a good day!

Michael W said...

@Everyone --- I've been promising myself an iron skillet as one of the first things I acquire once I'm financially on my feet again.

Doom said...

If I can remember, if you don't have one by September, I'll do your mother a square. They even arrive seasoned these days. Keeping it seasoned is a whole other thing though.

If I forget, someone might remind. *grumbles - seems to be some long memory folk about* Hey, I've gotten much more just 'cause before. Still do, actually, in ways.