I don’t have many memories left of my mother when she was young. They’ve been covered up by the memories I have of her now. For the last six years mom has been a lot like my smartphone and my critters — never more than 50-feet from me, unless I’m on a bike.
Just a few memories of my younger mother remain — visions of her standing over the stove, apron around her waist, and stirring a large pot of spaghetti sauce with a wooden spoon. Her bangs falling into her face as the steam rose upward. The kitchen I grew up with, like the cook who ran it, is the only one that matters.
I remember her manning the gift shop at the synagogue, before and after services on the Friday nights of my youth. Not bad for Christian girl from Alabama. I’m not sure she knew how often I stole things when she wasn’t looking. In hindsight, yeah, she probably knew.
Shortly after she and my father separated for the final time, I was 15, a man showed up to serve foreclosure papers on the family house. As she stood in the door and screamed at the man to get off the property, I stood in my second story bedroom window and shot an arrow at the rear tire of the man’s car. She took me out for nachos that night. I remember her reassuring me that we wouldn’t have to leave the house.
When she was the age I am now, and worked for the Indian Health Service in Chinle Arizona, I’d visit her often and we’d hike Canyon de Chelly together, followed by a lunch of Navajo tacos at the Thunderbird Inn. I still remember those hikes in the conversations we had as we walked.
I remember my mother as my Cub Scout Den Mother, as a horrible driver taking me to school, as somebody who baked the best apple coffee cake ever, and as a nurse who was always willing to work overtime when needed.
That’s about it though. I don’t have too many memories of her younger years other than those. Mostly I remember her from last year, last month, and last week — I remember her as she is now.
She’s aged, unsure on her feet, slow, wrinkled, and increasingly frail. Those terms might seem unflattering or even insulting, but I recognize them as the mile markers of the long trip she’s taken, from the Great Depression to the Internet — from the polio epidemic to the COVID pandemic.
And when that day comes — when she’s no longer around and memories are all I’ll have left of her, the memories I’ll carry forward and the ones which will stick with me the most, will be those of today — of the wisdom years.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there — you are the bubble-wrap of humanity.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 5
Mph Avg: 15.0
Seat Time: 09 hours 01 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Old 97s. Enjoy…!