One night and one entire day, and I'm already so over fuckin' whelmed, pardon my Al Pacino, trying to keep my mother entertained and/or busy. By two o'clock yesterday, after a full morning, she was working on her crossword puzzle, the only thing in life that "discourages" her, but she insists on doing them to keep her mind sharp. Some senior citizen center speaker gave this ever so helpful tip to her and her cohorts. She's college educated, taught for many years, has a memory for details I envy, plus is game for NEW experiences.

So, it was not too cold, the sun was shining, and she loves to walk, as I do. I decided to show her the Halloween extravaganza being built by my new friend in the neighborhood. Since power is still down where he works, he is outside merrily adding MORE to his front lawn of fright. (Due to the freakish storm, Halloween in my small town has been officially moved to this Friday, November 4th.) They will move a holiday, for "safety reasons" but not my downed wire. Go figure.

As we walk, she comments on EVERYTHING, but in a positive way: a holly tree already red with berries, a unique mailbox, the color or shape or style of every other house, the way a downed tree looks, men working with chain saws, the gravel used in a driveway, bird feeders; you get the picture.

I let all of it wash through me, thinking, someday I will miss this. My mother will die and I will miss her positive outlook, her repeated stories, things that remind her of other things. It is during this revelation that we stop to talk with still-decorating-for-Halloween-guy. Now, I should explain my mother does not watch gory or R-rated movies, but she's admiring his LAWN, as if it was The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. She listens to every detail especially as he explains how he has numbered every item, written a manual, describing how to set it all up, just in case he dies. She nods, as if this is perfectly NORMAL. I now see why I can't go out in public without total strangers telling me their lives, their inevitable deaths. I inherited this blessing, this curse, from my mother.


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