Meditation on Life and Mom #MondayBlogs #MothersDay

My mother is one of 12 children.  She is 92 now.  In all likelihood, she’ll see her 93rd birthday in late October.  She was a middle child, but now she’s the oldest, having survived six of her siblings.  The youngest girl, my Aunt Edith, is in hospital now.  Dying.  From cancer that appears to have metastasized to her bones.  She is 83.  The circumstances of my aunt’s decline are sketchy.  We had seen her last October, as feisty and full-bodied as ever, but, frankly, looking a little older than my mom.  My aunt has had knee surgeries and other ailments; my mom, nothing but a cold here and there and a bit of skin cancer that was quickly dealt with.

My mother considers herself blessed.  She has no explanation for why she is so healthy relative to all her siblings, why she almost seems to grow younger as they continue to age.

Talking with my mom over the phone can be a surreal experience.  On one recent call, I just listened as she discussed her sister’s deteriorated condition, interspersing bits of details and questions (collapsed lung, lesions on her bones, dehydration, eating more now, where will she go next, why didn’t the doctor know) with observations on the variety of birds she feeds, the gray squirrels that entertain her (don’t forget, there’s also a red one), the lilies she planted last week showing shoots already, the two chipmunks that accidentally drowned in a bucket she keeps outside to catch rain (and that was too bad because she thinks chipmunks are cute).  I could have listened to her forever.

There was dying (my aunt), living (the birds and squirrels), death (the chipmunks) and birth (the lilies)–all in ten minutes or so.  I wasn’t marking time.  Perhaps without intending to, she gave me perspective.  Things don’t make your life.  Life makes your life.

My mom lives in a double-wide which she loves, although it’s beset by boxelder bugs and mice.  She lives quite frugally and she’s says it’s by choice, but really, it’s how she has always lived.  She wouldn’t know how to splurge if given the opportunity.  I sometimes call her Moneybags because every so often she hands out large checks to her children and grandchildren.  She’s “spending down,” trying to make sure there’s nothing to quibble over when she’s gone.  I roll my eyes.  The money is appreciated but it’s listening to her talk about her birds and squirrels and the occasional woodchuck that I’ll miss.

I’m feeling pretty philosophical right now and wish it could be my constant state, but it takes effort.    For now I’ll just hold close her short monologue, replay it in my head whenever I feel bitter or tired or sorry for myself.

It might work because this morning we saw a fledgling pileated woodpecker  in our backyard, the first one I’ve seen in many years.  I couldn’t wait to call my mom and tell her.

Squirrels: This Time It’s Personal (Part 11)

Continued from Squirrels:  This Time It’s Personal (Part 10), a chain story event started at The Community Storyboard.


Darlene’s head felt like someone had dropped a safe on it. She didn’t want to open her eyes, afraid of the pain and of what she might see. She could hear and smell the rodents that had thrown her into the back of the SUV. They were snickering and scraping and farting and belching off in some distant corner. She was in a chair and the pain in her wrists and ankles made clear that she was tied to it. And there was some disgusting cotton material stuffed in her mouth. She slowly turned her head toward the sounds and peeked through one eye.

The light was dim, gray almost, maybe it was the pain in her head that made it difficult to see well. She could barely make out the blurry, furry figures off in a corner, around a table. She lifted her head some more, trying hard not to make a sound as a searing hot pain shot up through her neck. She must have been out for a long time.

“Hey, the broad’s awake!” Darlene’s blood ran cold at the raspy voice of the one who had choked her. She could make out the pear-shaped figures as they got up from their chairs and started to move toward her, snickering and fondling their whiskers with their disgusting little hands. Darlene wanted to vomit, but with the rag in her mouth, no way could she give in.

She smelled them long before they were close to her: stale beer, pistachios, and … and … corn. She tried to stare them down, to make them think she wasn’t afraid. But she was terrified. There were three of them, two rodents and a giant covered in hair. Sasquatch!

The rodents circled her chair, walking around and poking her, giggling and laughing as they did. Sasquatch just stood in front of her, his beady red eyes peering out through the thick pelt of hair that covered his face.

“I say we use her in the poker game … a strip poker game. The boss doesn’t need to know that we’ve had a little fun.” One of the goons leaned forward from behind her and Darlene could feel the tickle of his whiskers against her neck. She shivered with revulsion. If only she didn’t have that rag in her mouth, she would have spit at him.

Suddenly she felt something cold and sharp against her throat. The goon leaned even closer, licked her ear and pulled her head back so she was looking at him upside down.

“Now, pretty thing, we’re going to untie you and have you sit with us while we play our game. And you’re going to behave … unless you want your pretty throat cut!” Darlene winced as the knife ever so lightly cut into her skin. She blinked her eyes and the rodent gave her a big toothy grin. Christ, what an overbite he has, Darlene thought as the vermin released her hair and stepped back.

“Don’t cut the ropes, Bob. Just untie them so we can tie her back up afterward. Remember, the boss can’t know!” The rodents laughed, the sound echoing off the metal walls of the warehouse, and Darlene saw them start fondling their nuts … she couldn’t tell if they were acorns or pistachios. Her heart started racing as she felt the ropes loosen on her wrists. The second rodent had knelt in front of her and was working on untying her ankles. She could see that he was also trying to look up her skirt. She was itching to kick him in the nuts, but knew she had to restraint herself. She was too weak. Her power was at its absolute minimum. But somehow she had to get away, or die trying. The Sasquatch just stood there, watching.

Once she was unbound, she was hoisted to her feet. The rodents were grinning widely, their buckteeth so unclean they were almost phosphorescent in the dim light. The Sasquatch stepped forward and extended a huge hairy hand toward her blouse. Then a bright light flashed in front of her, a roaring boom echoed through the cavernous warehouse, and the Sasquatch exploded into hair and gore. Darlene fell to the ground as the rodents dropped her and ran for their guns. Just as quickly, she was picked up again and carried to the other side of the warehouse.

She gazed up at the young man who was cradling her in his arms. He had silky dark hair, smoky blue eyes, and was totally buffed.

“Are you OK?” He asked with such urgency that she almost laughed. Of course, she was OK as long as she was wrapped in his muscular arms. But he was all seriousness and he scowled like he was channeling Mel Gibson’s Hamlet.


“Dean!” The young man apparently named Sam hugged her closer as he turned toward another rather handsome and more scruffy dirty blond dude coming toward them. The man apparently named Dean looked at Darlene and started to say something when Darlene screamed.

While the two bros were all attentiveness to her, the remaining creepy rodents were slinking along the shadows, machine guns in their hands. The guns went off and Sam, Dean, and Darlene fell to the floor and slithered out of range of the gunfire. The air became more dense and dark as the goons shot up the boxes that were stacked all around them.

“Dean, what should we do?”

“I don’t know, Sam. I wish Cass was here.”

Darlene nestled between the two very fit men, thinking how happy she could be if only they weren’t being fired on by rodents. And there might be a third guy? Hell, she thought, if she had to die, then at least she was in the company of some hot dudes.


“What, Sammy?”

“What do we do now?”

“Hell if I know, Sam.”


And hell if I know where this story is going to go ultimately. But, for now, it’s going to go to Belle at Ruminations & Observations!


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