Monday, February 16, 2009

Echoes of Mom

I was just out in the woods wearing one of the two green Farm Credit Bureau knitted pullover caps that Mom got for me at least thirty years ago. Those knitted caps have gotten more and more ratty over the years; but I've found it impossible to replace them. Mom herself made me a new knitted cap in the 90's in an attempt to replace them; but it proved inferior because she made it only single thickness. Those Farm Credit ones are double thickness. There's a small but significant chance that one day Linda will need to send the 911 people to find me in the woods where I'll be lying under a felled tree like Mr. Colwell's dog. If such an event occurs in the winter the ambulance attendants may first spot the bright green of one of those Farm Credit Bureau caps.

On Saturday evening I met a couple, Leon and Betsy, at the Valentine's Day Dance up at the Ballroom on High who live in Silverdale, which was the site of the Farm Credit Office where Mom worked after they closed the Trooper office.

Last Thursday, Jas and Kathy and I played Scrabble using Mom's swivelling deluxe board with the little ridges that prevent the letter tiles from moving around. Naturally we talked about how Mom would give that forceful arm pump of hers when she put down a high scoring word and especially when she won a game.

Mom was very serious about Scrabble, playing it like a contact sport with very definite rules and very definite protocols of courtesy. Her "Gimme the letter bag!" could carry a real edge, especially when she was losing. And there was almost no better way for me to get a rise out of her at a family dinner than by mentioning just loudly enough for her to hear that I first beat her and Pop at the game when I was nine; which was untrue, but too good not to claim occasionally so Mom could exclaim "You did not!"

Then Marianne reminded me of another of Mom's characteristic reactions after dinner last night over at Sam and Deb's. She was talking about impressive Scrabble words. I was too modest to remind her of the time in Stone Harbor when I told her to look up "Galleass" as I started to put down all seven of my letters to connect the top center triple word block with the "s" that Mom had started a word with on the top right triple word block. The best part was that Mom didn't exclaim "Son of a Bitch!" until after Marianne read out the definition. The truth is that I told Marianne to look it up because I wasn't a hundred percent sure of the spelling; but having Mom tacitly admit by her delay in reacting that she didn't know the word made the moment priceless, even before I reached for the bag and realized that the game was over because there were no more letters.

Scrabble and Mom memories don't get much better than that.

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