As many of you already know, last weekend we drove to Bowling Green Ohio for my mom’s 80th birthday celebration. She lives there in a senior assisted-living complex just a couple miles from my sister’s house. (My dad died in 2008). Her actual birthday is today.
It was a fun but too-short trip. We’ll be heading out there for a longer one this upcoming summer.
Here’s a shot from a party we had for her at a restaurant outside of Toledo. It was a great time, and mom — who’s had Parkinsons for many years — was in fine form.
Here’s one of the stories I told that night:
When I was nine we moved to Mountain Lakes, N.J. There were about 3,000 people and seven lakes, and it was an old, serious-money town with great schools. We lived in the poor section, which was called “The Village.” That’s where the town’s servants had lived, back in the 1920s. It was when we lived there that I realized what a pistol Mom was.
Students weren’t bused in Mountain Lakes unless they lived 2 miles from school. The distance to our house was 1.9 miles. (Nobody lived farther away). So Mom would drive us to school in the morning and we would walk home in the afternoon, taking a couple of shortcuts through woods.
One day after a big snowstorm she picked us up because we couldn’t cut through the woods because the snow was too deep. So a bunch of us kids were piled in our Chevy station wagon. A little ways down from the school, the road was blocked by a snow-removal operation. They were clearing out the country-club parking lot, using a small loader to dump snow into a big dump truck.
Mom waited patiently for 15 minutes. Then she began honking the car’s horn. She had a doctor’s appointment to get to, or something like that. The public works guys ignored her.
So she climbed out of the car, walked up to them, and started yelling. She had a talent for that that she’d honed over the years on Dad.
“Lady, get back in your car,” the workers said. So Mom did. She climbed back in the driver’s seat and pulled our wagon up to the back of the dump truck, so the loader couldn’t get close to it. Then she leaned on the horn some more.
The driver of the dump truck radioed back to his office about “this crazy lady.” Mom’s window was down and she heard that. She jumped out of the car, walked to the cab of the dump truck and jumps up on the truck’s driver-side running board. She snatched the radio’s mic from the driver.
“You’re damn right I’m crazy!” she told the person on the other end. “You better send the cops to arrest me! Because I’m not moving! Or you can tell your idiot driver to move out of my way!”
They moved. My heart swelled with pride. Mom made the man back down!