Tuesday, May 15, 2001

My Mom

Here are some of my favorite Mom stories:

The Egg

When I was a kid, I didn't like eggs. Not that I had ever actually eaten or even tasted one. I just didn't like the way they looked, or smelled. Yuck. But my parents were always trying to get us to try new things. 'Just taste it, you may find you like it. As you get older your taste buds develop.' Not my taste buds.

One sleepy spring morning I shuffled down to the kitchen where Mom was fixing my breakfast before sending us off to school. I sat down at the table expecting my usual bowl of Cocoa Puffs or Cap'n Crunch. Instead I was shocked to find a horrible yellow eyeball staring up at me. It was an egg. Sunny side up -- the most disgusting of all. A quivering bulbous mass of icky yellow stuff rising from a creepy circle of fried white gunk.

'Just taste it,' my Mom said. 'Just take one bite. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat any more. I just want you to try one little taste.' It was early and my defenses were down. And her request seemed fairly reasonable. Plus she was being so nice about it. She had a big smile on her face.

So I tried it. One little bite. I scooped up some of the white gunk with my fork and cautiously put it in my mouth. It was... Wonderful! Sweet and creamy and... cold?

I looked at my Mom. 'It's good,' I admitted. Mom laughed: 'April Fool! It's ice cream! And the yolk is an apricot!' 'Huh?' I didn't get it. 'It's not an egg?' 'No,' she said, 'I wouldn't give you an egg for breakfast, you hate eggs.'

I finished up my ice cream egg, one of the best breakfasts I've ever had, and went off to school where I told my friends about how my cool Mom played an April Fool's trick on me. Everyone was amazed.

The funny thing was, after that I wasn't afraid of eating eggs anymore, and eventually grew to enjoy them. But now I have them scrambled. Sunny side up still looks a little creepy to me.

The Shy Kid

When we kids were all in high school, my Mom decided to get a part-time job. As a graduate of the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School she had no problem getting a position with a local psychologist who needed an assistant.

The psychologist worked out of a restored log cabin behind his house and Mom's desk was in the outer room that also served as the patient waiting area. Most of the people who came in to see the Doc ended up talking with my Mom before they went in.

One time this kid showed up who seemed very withdrawn. He was a little early for his appointment so Mom had a little more time with him than usual. She tried to make him comfortable, asked him a few simple questions -- the usual stuff. But this kid seemed really reluctant to talk. Mom didn't give up though, eventually she can get anyone to open up. Finally the kid warmed up to her and she got him to share a few things about himself. By then it was time for his appointment.

After his session was over and the kid's mother had picked him up, the Doc came out and stood in front of Mom's desk. 'What the hell did you say to that kid?' Mom immediately assumed she had crossed some doctor-patient boundary or breached some confidentiality. 'I'm sorry,' she said, 'I was just trying to make him comfortable. He seemed so shy.' The Doc was astounded: 'He's not shy, he's autistic. He's been coming here for years and I haven't ever gotten so much as a peep out of him. Fifteen minutes with you and suddenly he's chatting away. It was a tremendous breakthrough. What did you say to him?'

Mom tried to remember what she had done that was so special. 'I don't know,' she said, 'all I did was talk to him like anyone else.' The Doc shook his head. 'Why didn't I think of that.'

Mom stayed with the Doc for several years. Even though she didn't have a degree, she probably knew more about psychology than most PhD's. They don't have a school for Moms. But if they did, my Mom would have graduated summa cum laude.

Blue Ice

My Dad has an old college buddy who has made a ton of money over the years. Now that he's near retirement, he's been spending it on his friends. Every year he takes a bunch of them on some really cool trip like rafting through the Grand Canyon or a train trip through Baja California. One trip they took was a cruise to Alaska.

Most of the activities on the cruise involve looking at all the cool stuff you can see from the boat, like whales and eagles and icebergs. Unfortunately, most of the trip the weather was kind of gloomy and rainy and there weren't many eagles around and it was hard to find the whales. My Dad's buddy was a little disappointed, having brought all these folks out to Alaska just to watch it rain. But they all stood out on deck anyway to see what they could see.

One of the things they did see were these amazingly beautiful ice formations. The ice took on an incredible blue color that almost seemed to be lit from within. The guide pointed out that in the bright sunlight, this color would be nearly impossible to see, but in the cloudy half-light it really stood out. My Mom turned to my Dad's buddy and said, 'We're so lucky to have been out here on a day like this or we never would have seen this beautiful blue ice.' He smiled with absolute delight, 'Pattie,' he said, 'I love you. I wouldn't make another one of these trips without you.'

Of course after that the sun did come out and they saw whales and eagles and lots of great sights. But my Mom's favorite was still the blue ice on the rainy day.

Happy Mom's Day

Love, Rich

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