I spent yesterday afternoon with my mother. I walked from Eleanor to her place. Seven police cars passed by, their lights flashing and their sirens blaring. Got me to thinking that this wasn’t something that I was used to. One police car in our neighborhood gets us all to speculating. Seven, seemed like a serious matter to me.
Mother and I had a picnic lunch on the lawn of the assisted living facility. I imagined this area as being much like the grounds of St. Elizabeth’s, where Ezra Pound was sent. We sat down under a tree and ate the lunch that I’d packed. Mother didn’t want to sit on a bench, so we sat on the lawn. I feared that she would have a hard time getting back up. I was right. But we somehow got her righted. We next sat next to the statue of the pregnant Virgin Mary, and then made our way over to her very small garden plot, where we did some weeding. Once a gardener, always a gardener. This is something that I don’t really understand, but as on the home front, it’s easy for me to go along with this.
We then went inside and mother sat in the open area and drank a cup of coffee. It was old, cold coffee. The coffee cart was brought down at 2 p.m., five minutes later. She and two guys who were sitting at a table just could not wait. I met another resident, I believe her name was Ruth. She too had heard the police sirens. She said that they told her that she had to take an alternative route home. She then told them that she’d go over to a nearby coffee shop, and after bill the city. The police officer’s one comment about this was “good luck.” Ruth then attempted to convince me to come to church, first on Saturday and then on Sunday. I politely declined, coming up with excuses as to why I could not attend.
After, mother and I went to her room and played a game of Scrabble. This took a few hours. We played what I call family rules Scrabble. You can take as long as you like when it’s your turn. We don’t use timers. And midway through the game we point out possible word/letter spaces and offer suggestions to the player who is behind. We also make use of the dictionary at any time.
Ours was a quiet, calm, equitable game. In the past we were more cutthroat. But now we are older, wiser. Best to put our energies into bigger battles. I won, but not by much.
I was impressed with how mother remained so focused. In fact, she would have continued with the second game, which was interrupted by Eleanor’s arrival. But I then begged off, conceding defeat in game two.
I took one photo of the board and one of my mother thumbing her nose at me. We then went out to dinner with El. We met up with El’s friend Jerry at a neighborhood restaurant. He talked at length about Facebook and technological connectivity. This made me realize that when I get back to Alaska I’m going to have to commit to using Facebook as a communicative device. I’m dreading this – it’s just something that I’ll have to do if I want to promote the upcoming centered riding clinic.
So it’s now Saturday. El and I went to assisted living, picked up mother, then went and picked up my jacket which I’d inadvertently left on a bench at the Amtrak train station. Grr, grr, grr. I would not have mentioned this to El, but it’s a jacket I won for having the most pleasure rider hours. It amazed me that it was in the lost and found.
We originally planned to go to the beach, but El correctly deduced that mother was too tired for this. So now she’s crashed on the couch. And her cat Gray Baby is prowling the perimeters of her lime green carpet.
El’s high degree of dedication to mother’s wants, wishes, needs, hopes, and desires is more than admirable. I could never have done what she’s doing. I feel bad about this. The best I can do is acknowledge that my only sibling has and continues to do a remarkable job. I have to live with the fact that in this respect, I am and continue to fail miserably.