Today is February 21, it is my mother’s 80th birthday. She still gets around great. She can out-work anybody, she can do more housework on her worst day than I can on my best day. She worries obsessively about her five kids, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. I’d like to take a moment to thank her for being a great Mom and teaching me some valuable lessons:
1. “A woman can accomplish more on her lunch hour than a man can in his life.”
2. “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Mom.”
3. If you need to speak to your teenage son and he can’t seem to make time for you, get up early, remove the battery from his car, hide it under the sink and wait for him to come to you so you can have a little chat.
4. A woman knows the exact level of every whiskey bottle in the house at all times. And no, whiskey does not evaporate even if the cap is on…
5. If you have a smart new outfit, including a new bra and girdle, do not tell your red-headed sister who wears the same size, or she will come over after church and borrow everything from the skin out, leaving you sitting in a bathrobe on your bed wondering what hit you. She will then return for the coordinating earrings…
6. When asked to bring four cases of beer to a family picnic, do not put it in the trunk of the family’s worst alcoholic for transport to the picnic. He and the beer will never arrive and your brothers and brothers-in-law will never, never, never let you forget it.
7. When visiting the same beer-stealing relative and you notice that the birds are falling off the birdbath in his backyard and staggering all over the ground, do not act surprised when he tells you there’s vodka in the birdbath. Then spend the next two hours watching over the inebriated birds while they sober up so the cat doesn’t get them.
8. Do not feel guilty about eating the venison steaks made from a deer you hit on the Island. If you live on Island long enough, you will have many close calls with deer, and one day your number will be up and the police will tie Bambi’s mother across the car and give you the address of a hunter who will dress the meat for half the share.
9. Do not share the location of clam beds with anyone outside the family. It’s nice to be neighborly, but friendship ends at a kettle of steamed clams.
10. It’s important to be forgiving when a new son-in-law, not familiar with the ways of crabs, takes the crabs out of the fridge and puts them on the table to make room to put groceries in. He doesn’t know that fresh crabs only sleep in the cold, and when they warm up, they wake up and make a run for it. (It took us half an hour to catch all ten crabs.)
11. Always be considerate of others. If you have the time and an extra buck, bring a hot chocolate for the ferryman who works in the blistering cold.
12. Let workmen, who are obviously on their lunch break, go ahead of you in line at the IGA. And if a granddaughter loudly announces that they smell, remind her, “That’s just the smell of honest work, sweetie, and it’s a good smell.”
The good, the bad, the happy and the sad, thanks for all of it, Mom.