Sunday, May 13, 2012


I took a much needed break after that A to Z thing but then I lost my ‘words’. Then I started to lose me. So…I thought I better start talking…again.

Like a lot of you today ‘I Remember Mama.’ If you’ve been coming around here for any length of time, you know I talk a lot about my Daddy. Rarely, do I mention Mama. Daddy was bigger than life itself, BUT Mama was the woman at his side every step of the way. They were a crazy pair and I’m the luckiest person on earth to have been raised by these two. Things were never dull around our place and although one of the Social Services - Child Protection Agency in existence today probably would have turned purple in an effort to protect ‘this child’, I loved almost every minute of my time growing up.

Daddy was a big city cop who got a furlough (vacation) of one month every year. From as long as I can remember he usually took that time off in June or August. Daddy loved to fish. Mama loved Daddy so she, of course, loved fishing too. (I say that ‘tongue in cheek’; she really did love to fish) So…we would load up the car and head north to Minnesota, the Land o’ Lakes, Leech Lake in particular. Leech Lake sits in the center of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation home to the Band of Ojibwe. I loved my summers at the Lake, but I do not like to fish.

When I was old enough my parents would leave me on shore to hang out with the other kids from families staying at the same resort. (Just so you aren’t mislead into thinking resort means some sort of Club Med. experience. This was a band of primitive cabins settled on the lake shore, normally surrounding a lodge of sorts that housed the bar a jukebox and endless nights of rowdy times.) When I was younger I spent endless hours along with Mama and Daddy, in a small aluminum boat with a 10hp outboard motor attached at the back. Normally I was laid out on the bottom on the boat between two seats with a stack of books.

One hot afternoon, I had read until my eyes were crossed, it was hot; I wanted out of the boat and was looking forward to getting back to the resort and going swimming. I’m sure I was just winding up in some childish and yet elaborate version of ’are we there yet?’ when my mother started ‘the lecture’. In my defense I was probably half asleep when I looked over and thought ‘you old walrus’ (yep, that would me, not terribly original and why I called her a walrus I’ll never know). When my mother leapt up, almost capsizing the boat, with fire in her eyes and said “”what did you call me?” that’s when I realized I had not thought it, but said it out loud.

Now the boat is rockin’, Daddy is shouting at Mama to calm down, Mama is looking for a weapon and I can’t stop laughing. (Yes, there you have it folks, I know exactly what I’ll do when certain death looks me in the face, I laugh at it or with it or something.) Now my folks fished with those long fiberglass poles, Mama already had one in her hand, so, she steps up on the seat above me and gives me a whack. Man that hurt, but I can’t stop laughing. This only makes Mama more angry so she says;”do you think that’s funny?” accompanied by two more whacks with the fishing pole. My life is spared when some folks my parents recognize, motor their boat within hailing distance (They were probably attracted by the sight of this woman up on the seat of the boat whipping a pole through the air.) Daddy waves and asks them ’what’s biting’, Mama steps off the seat and looks over smiling, like her standing up there was just some every day thing and says to me in a ’stage whisper’ wait until we get home. I stay in the bottom of the boat, rubbing my hip where the fishing pole connected and try not to laugh. (That whole walrus thing must have struck me as funny or something) by the time we got back to shore all was forgotten (well almost all, I had a pretty good welt on my leg. I played that to the max, stopping just short of a pronounced limp), I distinctly remember that evening down in the lodge being a lot of fun. Daddy even danced with me, where he took the opportunity to remind me how much my mother loved me and to never ever call her a walrus again.

Probably not your normal ’I Remember Mama’ on this Mother’s Day, but there wasn’t much ’normal’ about my family and it is one of my most vivid memories of my Mama. I love that crazy woman more than words can express.

Mama died when I was still young. My parents were old when I was born and she only got sixty-eight years in this life. I never remember her saying something ‘bad’ about another person. She came from a large family (nine siblings) and she was always the first to help any one of them out. She kept the family together with holiday gatherings after her mother died and my cousins all speak lovingly of Aunt Eleanor. She died with my oldest child was a toddler and was not there with my second baby was born. That was probably when I missed her the most.

I’m not fond of Mother’s Day. It feels like a ‘greeting card holiday’ invented to grant absolution for all the mean things children do to their mothers the rest of the year. That’s probably just me. I’m sure my list of mean things is longer than most, but you know what, Mama never stopped loving me and her love was unconditional. I do my best to live my life without regrets. In truth, I only have one and it has to do with Mama, but I’m not gonna tell you about that today.

Today I salute my Mama. I am who I am because of her (the good parts of me anyway). I love you and I respect you Mama, with all of my heart.


  1. Faraway- That was a very thought-provoking and well written memory. I felt like I was there with you in the boat.

    I am not overly fond of Mother's Day either, as I am a firm believer in telling the people you love and cherish, every single day how much you love and appreciate them.

    I'm sure you understand this, living with a cop. We never know what can happen one day to the next, and I don't ever want a day to go by that I didn't say, "I love you".

    I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day. Whenever you remember those moments with your mother, you honor her.

  2. Sometimes the feisty moms are the ones that are most passionate about their feelings.

    I liked this post, it's the closeness that counts. And remember, for future use, no one wants to look like a walrus. . . or be told that they do. (except maybe another walrus.)

    Hope you have a nice Mother's Day, we're going to see hubby's mom who will be 97 this year. My mom passed away a few years ago and I miss her still.

    BTW-I think you found your voice again.

  3. What an amazing post. You paint a vivid picture of a colorful mom. I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day. (I think it's a greeting card holiday too, but I didn't say no when my husband took our son out to the park so I can have time to write!)

  4. What a fun post-so heartfelt and honest and I laughed and laughed! I can see the entire happening in my head! Gosh that was funny! and like you, I acknowledged my mom becuase it is Mother's Day but I don't need a day to tell her I love her!

  5. That's right - we should cherish mom every day of the year rather than one Hallmark Day.
    However, your walrus and fishing pole story was really, really funny.

  6. Thanks for sharing your mother's day story with us. My parents are both still alive, mom is in assisted living, and dad wants to take her out of assisted living so that he can live with her again. Sigh.

    I don't have fond memories like you do. My parents never got along, stayed married even though they never really loved each other in the traditional romance book way, and my dad always wanted to do things his way and my mom wanted to do things her way. It was like living in a house of control freaks.

    My dad was a drunk and an abuser. My brother left when he was a teenager to go and have fun with his life. I was only nine when my brother left so I didn't really get to know him. Only that he partied a lot.

    So yeah... my family life has never been the best. No Disney Land trips to remember. There were a few camping trips but those weren't magical. Just cold and fishy and all alone with dad who wasn't much of an entertainer.

    Very nice Mother's Day post. (Today is both Mother's Day AND my Ma's birthday. Unfortunately though, she's been gone since 2005. I miss her. I miss my Pa too.)

    Glad you're back and able to post again. I hope you got my last couple Emails... and I hope you didn't mind me teasing you a little bit. It seemed like you could have maybe used a little "lightening" of the mood. And I'm good at teasin'.

    >> . . . . Just so you aren’t mislead into thinking resort means some sort of Club Med. experience. This was a band of primitive cabins settled on the lake shore, normally surrounding a lodge of sorts that housed the bar, a jukebox

    I know exactly what you're talking about. Growing up kinda po', my family's vacations were always spent somewhere not too far away from the city we lived in, usually in a mountainous region like Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead, with cabins built around a lodge like you described.

    >> . . . I loved my summers at the Lake, but I do not like to fish.

    Yeah, me neither...

    I don’t like fishing because I don’t like to hurt things, and you know I think fish are probably “things” and when they get that hook through their mouths it probably hurts. I don’t really care about fish all that much but I still wouldn’t want to hurt them!

    I remember one family vacation to Lake Tahoe, when my Pa pushed me out of the boat into the water just for kicks. He said that when I resurfaced and he saw my face was nearly blue, he realized just how cold the middle of Lake Tahoe is and what a mistake he'd made.

    I got A LOT of mileage out of THAT little episode. For years I'd remind him of it as a way of getting a little extra "leverage" in getting what I wanted. Ha!

    I'm pretty sure I wrote that little story somewhere on the Internet. Oh, it was in a review for a Louis Prima album, I think. Anyway...

    How come you haven't replied to my last Email yet? That's not like you. *Wink!-Wink!*

    I hope you're doing OK. Yak again soon...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  8. Very nice tribute to your momma. Love it and thanks for sharing.

  9. Now that's an honest tribute. I love it!

    "invented to grant absolution for all the mean things children do to their mothers the rest of the year."

    ROFL - too true!

  10. That's a great memory. I love the real slices of life memories rather than the embellished, silver plated memories that are so often told on mother's day.

    I love mother's day for the simple fact that I sit back and let everyone else do the work for me. What's to complain about? I get presents and I don't have to cook a meal.

  11. A beautiful and touching tribute, and I agree, we should celebrate our mothers every day, not just on a day that Hallmark tells us we should.

  12. your post really struck a chord with me--my last child was born the day after i turned 41--i often pray that i will be around to see all of her children--i am sorry you didn't have your mother longer

  13. What a delightful tribute to your mom!

  14. Thanks to everyone for your kindness. Not a one of you mentioned my inability to punctuate or the misplaced typos. (Much worse than the usual) I just had to get this posted and the 'fam' was waiting to treat me nice for M.D.

  15. That was a fun and touching tribute to your mother. Like I was, it sounds as though your parents gave you a life rich with experiences.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out