Sunday, May 12, 2024

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day.  I'm not prepared.  Yesterday was the best of my sick days so far, but I'm still creeping toward a full recovery.  I forced myself into some action yesterday, but I was a Stranger in a Strange Land.  Lights were too bright, colors too saturated, movements too quick.  You know the drill.  You've been sick before for long enough to know.  Leaving the home environment where you have lain, sleeping, watching television, drinking clear fluids, you start to exist in a different time zone or dimension.  The world "out there" does not offer any comfort.  

And so. . . I've not gotten anything for my mother.  She understands, sure, but. . . .  

"Your coming to see me everyday is a gift," she said.  There is that.  

Most of you "out there" are in some stage of Mother's Day celebration.  Maybe it is breakfast in bed and/or morning mimosas.  Or you may be traveling to see your own mother, have lunch with her this afternoon, give her a card and flowers and perhaps some other treat.  Maybe in your family there are generations of mothers.  

Many husbands will treat their wives as mothers today.  

My mother has a funny story about that.  The first year she and my father were married, he didn't get her anything on Mother's Day.  She mentioned it to him, and he simply said, "You're not my mother."  

People have differing expectations.  

As a child, though, I can remember going to the store with my father to get my mother a Mother's Day present.  Don't remember what any of them were.  I doubt my mother remembers any of them, either.  

Such celebrations have always seemed awkward to me, these mass non-liturgical, Hallmark-made celebrations.  The only one I have ever felt comfortable with is Christmas, but only the lead up.  It is really the only one with a lead up, isn't it?  We don't meet Mother's Day with the same anticipation.  

It is also graduation day for many colleges this weekend.  Yesterday, my conservative buddy sent me videos of his youngest son's graduation at Vanderbilt.  

"Remember this?" he wrote.  Nope.  I didn't go.  Pomp and circumstance were never my thing, but he and his wife want to celebrate their success.  They did it!  Oh, they say they are proud of their son's achievements, but we all know what they are saying.  "Look what we did!"  

And so it is, for them, the perfect weekend.  

I will try to get some flowers for my mother today and go to her house for awhile, but I'm afraid there will be no cooking.  Her across the street neighbors wanted us to come to a Mother's Day dinner at their house, but there was no way I would be able to do that.  

I can't quite manage to get to the clearing.  I'm much improved but stuck somehow in the last stages of illness.  Small but concerning pains, a lack of energy.  I managed to drive to see my mother yesterday, but I was very happy to get home and back on the couch.  I'm not quite ready and well enough to leave the t/womb.  

As I slowly improve, however, I have to keep reminding myself that I am not returning to my old way of living, to the old routines and expectations.  I think it will be easier once I get the new clothes, though.  A short sleeved shirt from Target will change my attitude completely.  I want the whole outfit.  I remember my father used to buy his shirts in packages of three.  He just picked them up off the counter, looked at them, and bought them.  When he got home, he'd open the clear plastic package and put one on.  He'd look in the mirror for a mere moment and that was that.  It was a shirt.  It fit.  It did the job.  

I don't think I saw him in a pair of tennis shoes in my life.  He had black lace-up shoes.  And pants.  He had pants, too.  I don't remember how he bought those, but they were either black or brown or grey.  And a black belt.  He did have outdoor clothing for camping and hunting and fishing.  I'll have to go back through the films and pictures to see.  He must have had golf shoes, because he played sometimes.  I remember him playing tennis with my mother a few times when I was young.  He must have had tennis shoes.  

So many details I never logged.  

I want to wear those shirts and eat at a counter, served by waitresses in uniforms who come by to see if you want your coffee warmed.  

"How's the pie?"

I know. . . it's a movie cliche.  In my own hometown, all the retirees gather at the Panera's at the end of the Boulevard in the mornings for coffee.  It does not have the same appeal.  

I still have that Appalachian music stuck in my head.  Ola Belle Reed explained in a television interview that the music came from the land,  Once, driving wildly through the backroads of Minnesota, I was listening to a great radio program with Kaki King who was saying much the same thing.  In Europe, in the Middle Ages, she said, musical instruments were not standardized.  They came in different sizes with different tunings so that when musicians got together, they were improvising the songs.  But the music was regional, shaped by the sounds people heard around them.  Reed explains that growing up, they heard nothing but the wind in the trees, the birds, the river.  But there was a train that ran through the hills once a day, and they could hear it's chug-chug-chugging slow down as it climbed the steep grades, then pick up again on the other side.  She then played a song that was influenced by the sound of that train.  With radio, King explained, music became homogenized.  Regional music was lost as everyone began to hear the same thing.  Now, of course, with social media, it is not just the music, influencers being what they are.  I don't claim that it is bad. . . just different.  

When I was young, you couldn't buy liquor on Sunday.  It wasn't until a 7-11 came to town that any stores were open at all.  If you hadn't stocked up on what you wanted by Saturday night, you were out of luck.  Blue Laws, they were called.  As much of the old music goes, there was Saturday night, and then there was Sunday morning.  You don't hear that sort of thing anymore.  

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