Sunday, June 14, 2009


When I was very young, about four or five years old, I was playing outside with my little brother on the side of the house where my father had parked his boat and trailer. (As long as I can remember, we have always had at least one boat—once we had four!) It was just a small speedboat and he had propped the trailer up with a concrete block to keep the boat level. As you can guess, somehow I found myself under the trailer and boat, pinned but not hurt. My brother ran screaming into the house to get my mother and almost immediately she was there. My mother is not a big woman and at the time I think she weighed just over a 100 pounds. Apparently, she could have weighed 70 pounds and wouldn't have mattered as she with one hand, lifted the trailer to free me and with the other hand, dragged me clear by my arm. I remember hearing the boat slam loudly against the trailer as she let it go. It all happened so quickly that I only remember vaguely her checking me over for anything broken, strained, scraped or otherwise injured and then scolding me to never play around the boat or any boat again. Soon I was in the backyard continuing the adventures of Suburbia Boy as my brother lingered around the sliding doors leading out to the back, still sniffling as he always cried when something happened to me. I heard many years later from my father, that my mother went back out the next day and attempted to recreate her amazing feat of strength. She couldn't even get it to budge...
A few years later, we were accompanying my mother to the bank and post office in our beat up blue Dodge Dart. This meant both my brother and I were standing up in the front seat with no seatbelts (which were aesthetically tucked away in the back of the seat, lest the perfect lines of the expansive vinyl bench seating were disturbed.) We had just finished going through the drive-through of the bank and my mother was pulling out onto Pine Hills Road. Somehow, I had chosen that time to be standing on the passenger door armrest which not only was directly next to the window crank but also the door pull. As she's turning left, crossing traffic, the centrifugal force swung the door wide open with me still clutching to the door frame. Luckily, I had enough sense to hang on and my mother quickly grabbed me back in with her free hand while the other was trying to steer the car. Soon, we were well on our way home, crisis averted. I remember the whole experience as amusing and kind of fun. My brother cried. My mother didn't say anything on the way home and when we did arrive, she told us to go play in our rooms. We were telling this story one Thanksgiving while at the dinner table and my mother revealed that she was fine until we got home and she saw my father. It was then that she started blubbering as she threw her arms around him...
We've had our issues through the years, a lot of them painful to recall, but like water in a stream of jagged rocks, the sharpness has been worn down over the years to smooth stones. She was but a child herself when she found herself with two babies and no owner's manual. Somehow, she figured it all out.
I've gotten my internal strength and resolve from her and more than once, I can hear her words come out of my mouth. She has been a loving wife and devoted companion to my father for 46 years, an attentive and caring daughter, a loyal and thoughtful ally to her friends and, perhaps I should tell her this more often, the mother I love and adore unconditionally.

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