My 92-year-old Mama was earnestly informing me the other day that she never had morning sickness until after I was born.
This is the very same Big Mama who regularly dismisses my simple-minded humor as insensitive, tactless and downright ludicrous. Yet, she never sees the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch. And even a no-good bastard…
At the same time, during one of our phone conversations this week she reminded me, yet again, that: “I’m the best mother you’ll ever have!”
Man-o-man, if the Queen had balls my mother would definitely be King.
My voluble Big Mama, who still sleeps with her mouth open so she can get the first word in every morning, wasn’t reiterating all this just because of Mother’s Day. Nor was it because of anything Oedipal. Nor even that she still tracks my global ‘romantic interludes’, labeling me, tacitly, a mother-f-er.
Then again: Aren’t we all? Hey, in today’s world of rampant divorces, MILF’s and naughty wives advertising services on the internet I can resist anything except temptation.
No, my mother harkens this refrain during our thrice weekly coast-to-coast phone chats because in person she would be punctuating her words with one of her still over-sized, almighty backhands, forehands, cross-hands, upper-hands and downright sledge-hands. Across the top of my worthless noggin’… And from just about anywhere her lobster juggernauts might be… incoming!!!
You see, in our big ol’ farm house growing up, honoring your father and mother was not simply a Commandment; it was a daily matter of keeping your face from being redesigned into some artless Cubism.
And my mother beat the oxygen out of us with the refrain that there was no way you could make up for any disrespectin’ – especially not on some damn, one-day holiday that’s been over commercialized almost from the moment it began over100 years ago!
Apparently she hasn’t been the only vituperating belle banging those clarions. It seems the exploitation of Mother’s Day even infuriated its founder, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia. She detested that it almost immediately became what she considered a profit-driven Hallmark holiday. That people bought cards to send instead of writing them.
And she spent the rest of her life as a major opponent of its venal repast, protesting what she saw as a scandalous abuse of her noble intention to celebrate motherhood.
That’s not to say my Mama still isn’t expecting an extra show of gratitude on Mother’s Day. I’ll never forget when my resting-but-not-exactly-in-peace Pappy ‘almost’ got to complete his sentence that he wasn’t gonna git her nottin’ because: ‘YOU aren’t MY mother!’…
A man don’t know he’s a fool until he has a wife to remind him that he’s gonna wake up – eventually, after a spell of recovery — with no teeth to brush. Not to mention he’s gonna have to urinate squatting down – forever and ever…
That’s my Mama. She always delivered her outlandish 2-cents plain just like the U.S. Postal Service. That neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night… is going to keep her from delivering what she figures you be deservin’ .
I am absolutely certain that if the mothers – like mine – of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars. Do Black Widow Spiders come to mind?
How could you not love a woman like that? I mean, undoubtedly she ruined me for anyone else. No wonder I’ve got so many exes… I like ‘em mean… and naughty. Hell, I like a woman with a past…
And it’s not that my mother had a particularly bawdy history – although she did garner a busty reputation under her big hats belting out the blues in nightclubs and saloons during America’s only righteous war.
I mean, Mama was never shy about admitting that she always had been a tad weak in the gams for a man in uniform. And I guess dear ol’ Pappy happened to be square-shouldering one she adored the night my older brother-duh-heart-surgeon got pollinated.
Oh, what duh hell, what duh heck. I mean I should be forever thankful that Mama, although she warbled in clubs, never developed a hankering for the devil’s brew. She was a petulant enough thorny rose of dawn without a hangover. Always crowing and clucking like a busy hen for us lazy sloths to get the hell outta bed: You can’t be wasting away your life sleeping!
Remember this was a regular 5 AM curtain call.
And nearly a half-century later I still snap awake screaming if I’ve overslept until 5:30… No matter whose bed I’m in.
With an impish Mama like mine you quickly come to recognize that there simply is no such thing as a devil. It’s just g-d when She’s menstruating every 28 days… reminding us it would be easier to negotiate with a terrorist.
Mama always insisted it was the only time of the month she could just be herself. Now that’s a thought scary enough to cure a whole lot more than hiccups. Also formidable enough to sober dear ol’ Pappy. He would never dare entertain even an itch about divorce. It would have ended up like an amputation; he’d survive, but there would be a good bit less of him.
Hey… to Mama, the fastest way to a man’s heart — including her sons’ – is still through his chest. .
Look, I don’t want to proffer the impression that my Mama was – and still is – a heart demanding only your blood.
Big Betty lives to reassure you that the Moyel only started the job she’s hell bent on finishing. I am not suggesting that my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy died fitfully from an over circumcision. But I am more than a tad certain that it was undoubtedly one of the discomfiting anxieties that finally sent him flat-lining.
All the while, Mama likes to think she’s truly a romantic. She is always demanding that I write love stories, even though mine don’t end happily ever after. And she often seems to be reading romance novels where some white-robed sheik on a white horse snatches the yearning damsel away to his Kasbah – to have his way with her. Other than that Big Mama is often sneaking regular peeks reading up on serial killers – mostly How To books.
It’s just as she chided us about prostitution: If a man knew how to do it, he wouldn’t have to pay for it.
Meanwhile, These days two months from 93, Big Mama still drives and water exercises. Her only other exertion is a lot of exasperation. She pines that my humorless brother-duh-heart-doc and his wife-duh-lawyer got her to move from her playpen in Arizona to a senior home 20 minutes from them, across the Golden Gate Bridge.
“I don’t like big cities,” she harrumphs. “I’m a small town girl. Why did I ever let him convince me to move here?”
“Because you didn’t listen to me…”
“Well, you never listen to me, either, Andrew!”
“I always hear you, Mother. But men fake listening. Just like women fake climaxing.”
“Andrew! I’m your mother!”
“What? Are you telling me you’re a virgin?”
“You’ve always had a very strange sense of humor, son…”
“I inherited it from my virgin mother. Along with several concussions.”
Indeed. A great deal of what I am today is because of Big Mama. And I love her for it – even when it isn’t Mother’s Day.
There’s an old Jewish proverb that goes: G-d could not be everywhere, so he made Mothers.
Obviously He knew what He was doing – most of the time.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…