I’ve been out here on the Left Coast for the last week, staying at Mom’s house, working with Brother #2 and Sisters #1 and #2 on clearing out some more of the items collected during a life worth living. Every morning has started with a curse for the Prince of Pestilence, a cup of coffee, and a slow awakening while watching men in tights.
After that, I’ve gone for a ride of my own, usually on about the same route, which takes me by the cemetery, where I can stop and visit Mom and Dad’s graves. I did take a one day break from the ride, on what happened to be my birthday, to help my recovery from the rides and this pernicious pestilence. That gave me time for a birthday tradition that I’ve followed since about the time that I was in college: delivering flowers to Mom.
I started the tradition when I realized that everyone gave me gifts for being born, but that nobody ever congratulated Mom, who was the other one in the room with me when I was born (Dad was off corraling my five siblings), and she was the one doing all the hard work. I was always happy when the flowers surprised her, as they often did. She would always call to tell me that she’d had a good chat with “little Stevie” who would deliver the flowers. I would have already had a good chat myself with Steve, who went to elementary school with Sister #2 and then went on later in life to buy my favorite florist.
The irony this year is that Sister #2 and I are here to go by and visit with and pick up the flowers from Steve in person, but Mom’s not here to receive them. I did still get gifts from Mom, however–items that were marked for delivery to me that we’ve uncovered as we go through the house. In addition, there’s plenty of obvious evidence of Mom’s lifelong love throughout the house, the easiest pieces of which to share are the pictures–although if you’d like to see the love that Mom showed me by saving all of my K-6 schoolwork or every invitation list, gift list, and card from every birthday party, I have a few crates of paperwork that I can forward to you. Don’t worry–there’s plenty to share among all six of you loyal readers.
Until I get your mailing addresses, you’ll have to make do with these pictures.