Home Tomagrams Keeping Up With My Favorite Octogenarian

Keeping Up With My Favorite Octogenarian

Keeping Up With My Favorite Octogenarian

Vashon Strawberry Festival Street Dance

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.

Mom even brought a gorgeous streak of weather with her (Tramp Harbor,Vashon Island from Ellisport)

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.)


  1. Tom, LOVE this and love you and your family. To do list for this “young” lady, Meet The Conway angels this year!!! Glad you enjoyed…xoxox

  2. Terrorist isolation chamber!! chuckle,snort 🙂
    The photo of your energizer bunny in her cap is just BEAUTIFUL. Adored the lavender harvesting blog entry too, by the way.

    • Miffy — Thank you — I let you know when I’m in town.
      Kim — I fear your offer may be too tempting, as Mom loves to swim, and Puget Sound is one cold swimming hole.
      Erin and Jacqui — Thanks for the kind words!

  3. On top of all that, she’s funny, witty, warm, independent and clearly loves and respects her kids. You are one lucky hombre, Tom.

  4. Looks like you all had a wonderful time! What a lovely tribute to your Mom, Tom…and how wonderful that you still have her! I was the youngest of 4 daughters born when my Mom was 41 and lost her when I was in my early fifties. You are blessed!

  5. This post entry made my day – I have a mom who also has boundless energy. They are the best! Glad you all had such a wonderful visit.

  6. It made me happy to read your post. (And nostalgic for the days when my mom came west and helped me pull my household together!)

  7. Beautiful post Tom! Once again, you are responsible for making me laugh and cry simultaneously. I lost my “energizer bunny” 5 years ago; however, I think she would have shared a lot in common with your lovely Mother. Give her a hug from JBug, OK?

  8. Such a great post Tom! How wonderful to have your mom and sister for a great visit! I lost my mom a year and a half ago. Our moms come from that generation that does not believe in being idle! Sometimes it was hard to keep up…LOL. I loved every minute and miss her dearly. SOOO glad you had this wonderful time together with her and your sister : ) The raspberries look delish!! I harvested blackberries a couple of weeks ago…yummy!
    Enjoy the day!

  9. Wish I had known of your mom’s arrival predicament. I live “slightly” north of SeaTac Airport and have a guest room to spare which I would have gladly offered up, in addition to a ride from the airport where I spent 30 years of my life. (Of course, one MUST like cats to accept this offer.) lol

    As all turned out well, I’m glad you have some enjoyable time to spend together.


  10. Finally found your blog again after discovering you months ago but reformatting and real life intervened. Thought about your article on raspberries today as I was working out in our patch but couldn’t remember the name of your blog for the life of me. Googled, “garden blog wild raspberry patch washington state Oregon” and you are the seventh link down. heh!

    A lovely written tribute to your mother and sister you are blessed beyond measure.


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