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May 11th, 2018

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ In Dementia-ville the expression doesn’t know her ass from her elbow has been re-written. Now it’s ass from foot, and it’s more than a dismissive comment. Seems Dementia-ville’s sole permanent resident developed some sores on her bottom, a natural consequence of immobility plus incontinence. The doctor appeared unconcerned, advising a thick paste of an over-the-counter ointment to act as a moisture barrier. This was conveyed to the aide, who a few days later demanded my spouse refill a prescription for a foot cream used last year (admit it, you already know where this is going). When questioned why, she remarked that the foot cream goes fast when it has to cover the entire derriere area!

~~ You know what? It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and so I’m going to relate some past stories instead of dwelling in the present. First off, I am so grateful to be the mother of two of the smartest, funniest, and nicest people I know:

~~ I am also very appreciative of the time I spent with my mother. She passed way, way too young and suffered far, far too long, but in our active, healthy years together, she was a most steadfastly supportive, inclusively liberal, blatantly feminist, slightly kooky woman. She convinced me that I could do anything and that anyone who tried to hold me back wasn’t worth my time. She loved Ella Fitzgerald, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Totie Fields. She hated answering the phone, Hitler, Walter O’Malley, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and anyone who whispered things about her gym teacher friends/bowling teammates. She could knit like nobody’s business and would fight like the dickens for her children (unless her three boys were fighting among themselves when she’d come hide in my room). She was fully equipped to impart Jewish guilt, rarely forgave an offense to her nuclear family, wasn’t a fan of some of the relatives, and complained semi-regularly about how much she disliked cooking. (Who could blame her when my father and four kids reduced her culinary efforts into mere dirty dishes within minutes?)

Mom never taught me how to cook, clean, or iron — she said, “If I teach you, you’ll be expected to do those things all your life.” I still can’t clean or iron, so my house is always on the health department watch list and my tee shirts are always wrinkly. As for cooking, I did learn, but I find myself complaining about the task. Wonder where that came from?

Her cursive penmanship was beautiful and mom could also write words backwards as you spoke them — something that fascinated me every time she’d consent to do it. She was all thumbs when it came to her hair, so for many years she went to “the beauty parlor” every Friday for a wash, set, and tease. The beautician (gee, I wish I could recall her name but I can still hear the way she called everyone “Hun”) would backcomb mom’s frosted hair straight up, and then with some sleight of hand, coax it into a non-flippy bouffant style that lasted until the following Friday. Was it sheer determination or an overabundance of Aqua Net? I don’t know, but that ‘do held up through sleeping, showers caps, and four kids.

My mother smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. She had diabetes and her smoking worsened every ill effect of that disease. She never got to meet my son and her other grandkids or see any of her children grow all the way up. My last memory is visiting her the day before she passed (though ravaged by diabetes and dialysis, we didn’t know her heart would soon give out). She held my toddler daughter and had a delightful conversation full of stage-whispered banter about things they both found funny. At one point, my mom whispered to my daughter, “Tell your mommy that I love her.” My daughter did.

Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend and a wonderful Mother’s Day if that’s on your agenda!




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