Once upon a time


Once upon a time I had a mother. She birthed me and held me and fed me and made sure I was safe and warm and as happy as she could help me be.  We lived in various places, finally settling on a little patch of land out west. It must have been a real drag for her, since she’d lived in beautiful places like Washington, DC and wild and historic places like Dickinson, ND, but I never heard her complain. It must have felt like she was a pioneer wife in an arid land.

When I was growing up I had a pony and, later, horses.  I never realized how afraid she was of her Tomboy’s horses until many years later. She would hold the reins for me at times and probably thought the huge herd creatures were like equine dinosaurs.  I could barely get her on the pony – once.  She was a good sport, even though I was not at all like my feminine sister. I was more like my greatly idolized brother.

She put up with the fact I hated piano and wanted to play guitar and be a singer. She even sent me to guitar lessons and singing lessons.  I no longer sing or play guitar, but I have the history of appreciating music – including opera.

She left me when I was 27 years old. She did not want to go. None of us kids wanted her to go, but cancer in those days left one very few choices. From March to May was all she had after she found out.  I have very few things mementos which remind me of her – but what I have means a great deal.  When I look in the mirror I see her looking back at me, for I do look a lot like her.

Whenever I see lilacs I think of her. And the lilacs bloom this time of year.  She loved to read and I followed in her footsteps. She liked crossword puzzles and I used to be addicted to them. She was a believer in social justice and guided me in the path of believing we were all equal in the eyes of God (as long as those folks were Catholic  – LOL but I’m no longer Catholic and I’m sure she understands).  If she were alive today she’d be 97 years old.  If she were alive today I’d still live close to her.  If she were alive today I’d have never left her.

Maybe there is a reason she left so soon.  I’d have never found my joy in the land of Alaska. I’d have missed much.  Then again, I’d trade it all for her. Maybe she knew…

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