Keeping Up With My Favorite Octogenarian
Cutting the rug (make that the pavement) with my Mom at Vashon’s Strawberry Festival Street Dance
I’m a proud on-the-precipice-of-geezerhood, optimistic 55-year who can seize the day just as passionately as the next guy, but when it comes to my Mom (youthfully over 80), I have met my match. The weaker sex she is not, able to tackle any task brought before her (in addition to her own priorities), my mother is the energizer bunny in an argyle sweater and with a beaming smile.
The best berry-pickin’ Mom a boy could have.
My mother’s recent cross-country arrival to the Pacific Northwest was marked by a three-hour flight delay, which caused us to miss the day’s last ferry (at 2:10 a.m.). I told her I had booked a room as the next ferry wouldn’t leave West Seattle for another three hours. Without missing a beat, she suggested I save my money and that we could just sleep it out in my truck on the dock. Let me tell you about my 23-year-old Mazda truck. With over 235,000 miles on it, nary a nook nor cranny is without dog hair, nor a surface not perfumed by bulldog farts and bad breath (the dogs’). My truck would be better used as an isolation chamber to make terrorists talk, than as a crash pad for a loved one. I vetoed her suggestion (which was a tough sell), and we got some shuteye in a charmless ‘hotel’ near Sea-Tac airport, where a surly staff did their best to make me want to reconsider my truck camping option.
We made it home early in the morning of the same day, and my Mom didn’t miss a beat. A doer with a capital “D,” she doesn’t like to sit idly by, but rather prefers to have a project planned or to lend a helping hand when the need arises. As we drove up my lane, I could sense she was formulating her mental to-do list. By the time my sister arrived a day later, a plan of attack had been hatched, and this army of three was preparing for battle, battle with weeds, brambles, dirt, tarnish, clutter and disrepair (as well as my earlier lack of interest).
In mere days, my pantry reappeared organized (and accessible), my silverware shone brightly, my raspberry patch was liberated from weeds, (sorry about the nettles) and my freezer found itself full of freshly-baked date and banana nut bread. Needless to say during the next week, all things sparkled, from light fixtures to a grateful son. Tall Clover Work Camp was in session. (Apologies to my vacationing sister, minimal hammock time this year.)
A rare moment when the two hardest working women on Vashon took a break.
For a woman who’s been through so much in the last several years, she presses on with grace, kindness and generosity. She makes me and my brother and sister proud, then again, she always has. Thank you Mom, and thank you Linda. Your help was so appreciated and your company so beloved, but be forewarned, on your next visit, I’m instituting mandatory afternoon naps for anyone over the age of 50.
Me and Sis, in the arms of our angel, 1957. (Our dear brother arrived a little bit later.)