Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. Though she was a beauty and could have been in the movies, except she was shy and wouldn’t have wanted that. She was just another scrawny kid growing up in Georgia during the Depression Days. She was 8 when her daddy died of a heart attack, age 46, leaving her mother with six kids to raise. I hear tell her mom moved to the city and was encouraged by family to give up those kids for adoption. Instead she walked for miles in her best shoes selling Avon and walking back again and again trying to get the money for what she’d sold. Mostly, they just didn’t have the money. But all the kids made it and lived to be adults and get married and have their own kids.
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. Didn’t have a great education, a big house, a fancy car, or awards all over the walls. She sure did have pictures of loved ones up everywhere though, especially the kitchen where everyone gathered for those home-cooked meals. Funny, I never wanted to be like my mom because she did all the work as far as I could see. Cooking during hot summers, washing dishes, cleaning house, always something to do and none of it fun.
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. But speaking of “world,” she sure met a lot of people of all colors, shapes, and sizes, and welcomed them all. Those Sunday dinners after church when dad would invite foreign exchange students from the nearby college, she always welcomed them and we had a high old time talking with people with funny accents. We almost always had chicken. It was the cheapest meat that was good. Later, Mother got to putting curry in it and that was nice for a change. Mom was the only one of the kids from her family that moved away from the South and stayed away for the rest of her life except for visits. Leaving her family behind for the sake of her husband and two kids, that way further down the line became three kids. She thought those three kids hung the moon.
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. But I remember when the radiator fell on my foot when I was six because I wanted to see how strong I was. (I told everybody I was going to play “horsy” on it.) When it fell on my foot and made a crescent moon in blood, dad went running up the street asking where there was a doctor in this town and Mother held me on her lap. She said I needed stitches and she told me the truth when I asked if that would hurt and no a band-aid wouldn’t work.
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. Sometimes there are life-changing dreams. I had one once where my mother’s arm was broken, but she carried my dad everywhere. I always thought my dad was strong and powerful and his voice and presence towered over everyone, but I don’t know if he could have carried mom if he’d had a broken arm. I know he would have damn well tried and I know he loved her.
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. If April Fool’s Day was a holiday, it would have been my mom’s favorite, except maybe for Christmas. She always fooled us good! And never once was there a meanness to it. Our parakeets had an egg one year. I didn’t even know they made speckled jelly beans like that. One year there were 150 elk in the yard! One year, when friends were coming in mid-July and sister Dawn was little we decided yes we would have Christmas in July. We waited for our friends to come and Mother made apple turnovers. They smelled so good in the oven. My friends’ turnovers were stuffed with cotton. Their faces were priceless when their tastebuds got to the cotton. No one expected it from this sweet, soft-spoken woman. She didn’t allow them to suffer for too long before laughing and telling them they could spit it out, she had a real one still in the oven for them.
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. Mom kept the prettiest cards she received and cut them up and made them her own to send out to loved ones when it was their special day. She made whatever dinner each child wanted on their birthday, mine was pineapple upside down cake for dessert. In later years, we took her to Elk Mountain for the gourmet brunch they served because she loved that the best. She always said, “I ate too much!”
Guess she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world. When she lay in the hospital during her final days, I said, “Guess what?! You’re my favorite mother!” She said, “You’re my favorite Lenore. Thor’s my favorite Thor. And Dawn’s my favorite Dawn.” She was like that, and more. I never wrote a poem for my mother. It just seemed words were not intense enough for the feelings. I couldn’t string them together right. Maybe she wasn’t anybody special in the eyes of the world, but she was everything special to me. She told me that my first words were, “See the pretty flower.” Guess I was talking about my mom, even then.