Happy Birthday, Ma!

My mother, Patricia Marie, was born this day. Some years ago, we won’t say when.

She retired to Florida this year. Was able to sell the house in Fairfax County and use the proceeds to buy a nice little place in the middle of the state. I’d never been to Florida, not before last week when I went to visit Ma’s new place and help install a door.

My mother’s a very private person. Even now I think I’m maybe revealing too much here.

It’s funny. Just now I’m thinking of memories I have of my mother, from when I was a little kid. And the first two that come to mind are, this one time when she was bundling me up to go out ice skating with the other kids and I stepped on her bare foot with my skate, and the other was when my dad got back from Vietnam. And I realize that I’m thinking of times when she cried. Wonder what that means.

When I was learning to drive, when I had my learner’s permit, I remember going out with my parents to drive the neighborhood when it was their turn to drive around for the neighborhood watch. We had this 1975 Buick Skylark. Had an eight track player, and I was playing Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. My mother declared Incident of 57th Street to be the dumbest song she’d ever heard. I don’t know why, but that still tickles me to this day.

As a kid I used to complain about her smoking. She was surprised when as an adult I took up smoking too. I remember her dancing with Nana at my sister’s wedding. And she took me in and took care of me after my first marriage collapsed.

One thought on “Happy Birthday, Ma!

  1. Wonderfully concise and evocative storytelling. I very much enjoyed this passage.

    I first got to Florida a few years ago, when we headed down to visit with my wife’s grandma, near Tampa. I was thrilled by the change in the flora and fauna as we made our way through Georgia and then into Florida. We saw many dead armadillos on the side of the road. I had hoped to see a live one, but no such luck. At one point I saw what I thought was a huge snake crossing the road in the distance. As we got closer, I realized that it wasn’t a snake at all, but a small alligator, whipping his long tail as he ran up from a gulley, crossed the road, and ran back down the other side. I also loved the smell of the pine trees. Can’t have too many pine trees in this world, as far as I’m concerned.

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