Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thoughts of both parents around Mother's Day

With two other volunteers in Whately 
I usually walk Maddie into the woods at the end of my driveway to briefly do her business. The other day when she stopped and wouldn't go, I realized it was because I had forgotten to put her collar on.

"Oh, we forgot your collar, let's go back in," I said, and she turned around and obliged.

I usually take it off to "undress" her for the night.

It reminded me of the time my father was walking our dog Sam across the street from our apartment at night and a threatening man emerged from the park. My father jerked on the leash to get Sam to come. His collar slipped off and he froze. So Dad scooped him up and got back to the apartment safely.

Sam was a poodle mix before it was trendy. An affenpinscher-poodle, or affen-poo, or something like that. My mother's friend needed to find a home for him and my parents agreed to take him.

One summer at the beach they said my father was coming back with a Big Surprise.

We thought it might be a boat.

But my father brought home a black dog so small that he could fit in the palm of my father's large hand. Sam ran and hid under the car in our driveway at 77 Coronado St., Atlantic Beach. He of course came out and became a legendary part of the family.

As Mother's Day approached last week, if a person who thinks about their mother all the time could do it even more, I did just that. I took out my mother's handmade cookbook and made Aunt Anna's Company Chicken. I served it to a friend with parsley for garnish and candlelight or mood. (Marinate boneless breasts in dehydrated onion soup mix, whole cranberries and the dark kind of French dressing and cook at 325 for about an hour and a quarter. Before done put pitted black Bing cherries on top.)

For Mother's Day brunch, I put out the flower-rimmed placemats that she used for brunch in the apartment. Everything was beautiful; an artist on paper and in life. Doilies under plates, flowers on the table.

I didn't have enough little bowls of one kind for fruit, so I used a couple of different types and thought of her saying that everything doesn't need to match. Eclectic is more interesting. No milk containers or anything in packages should go on the table. We made an exception for the bottle of syrup.

I was kind of beat. I had gotten up at 4:45 a.m. to drive to Whately for the start of my 6 a.m. volunteer shift (handing out T-shirts) for the Cancer Connection's Mother's Day Half Marathon.

It was cold and rainy. For my last volunteer stint (Bridge of Flowers 10-K) we handed out T-shirts inside a school. I hadn't thought to ask what this would be like. It turns out we were under a tent, only partially protected. I didn't have on enough clothing to be comfortable handing out T-shirts. Luckily I had some gloves in the car but was still cold on this raw day. It took me half a day at least to get warm.

The volunteer coordinator said some volunteers had dropped out (many of them recently treated cancer survivors and patients). Understandably, they didn't want to get sick. I told her that I didn't have an excuse because it's been eight years.

Three of us handing out T-shirts sang and jumped up and down to keep warm. I was never so happy to see a Dunkin Donuts as when I headed out at around 8:30 to get a hot chocolate. All in all I was glad I did it.

With my 45th high school reunion fast approaching, I dreamt that I told someone that I wished it was my 15th and not my 45th. The person said it didn't really matter what year it was because we're all in the same boat by only being sure of this one day.

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