I've written many times here about my dad, how we meet weekly for breakfast on Wednesdays, and how he's taught me so many things about life, and about being gracious with what life give you. I've written about how, in the last few years, now that I'm an adult, I've gotten to know my dad in a new way, very different from the man I knew when I was little. But this is all very recent stuff with my dad. It's only been the last 5 or 6 years that I've gotten to know him very well.
When I think back on my childhood, there were many wonderful memories of camping and fishing and stuff like that with dad, but the truly shaping memories of my youth involve my mom. Dad worked, as dad's do, but mom was always home. Always there. Rock steady. Unmovable. At least to my childlike eyes.
Yesterday I had lunch with my mother. Sometimes forget just how blessed I am.
Mom is just about as old as dad, in her mid 70's. Not a young chicken by an means, but still as spry as a young woman. Her body is getting older and slowing down, but her mind is still sharp as a razor. I don't often get the chance to sit down and just talk freely with my mom. Yesterday was wonderful.
We met at Applebees on Arden Way about 11am. We both had salads (she's a diet enthusiast, and always has been, so I couldn't exactly order a big ol' hamburger without getting a "look" from mom. Dang it, I'm a grown man, but she's STILL mom). And we started to talk. We talked about family: my kids, my cousins, brothers, their families, etc. Just kinda getting up to date on what's new with my huge extended family. We talked a little bit about my friend that I wrote about 2 posts back, and my thoughts about that.
Then, the most enjoyable topic arose. She asked me how much I remembered about our trip to New York state when I was 12 years old? I thought I remembered everything, but evidently not! I was only 12 at the time, and (this blows mind) she was about MY age now when she took my sister and I on a Greyhound bus, 4 days across the USA, from Sacramento to upstate New York. What a trip that was!
We talked about everything regarding that trip.
She asked me if I remembered the guy touching me. I said "what?!". I didn't remember any guy touching me! She said, since she and my little sister sat together, I always sat alone across from her, with whatever passenger sat in the 2nd seat next to me. Usually, people were just fine. But I guess there was this one guy sitting next to me for a short leg of the trip, and sometime during the night I whispered across to my mom and said, "this guy keeps touching me." So mom put my sister on her lap, and put me in the seat next to her. After a bit, my mom went up and told the bus driver, because the guy kept giving her weird looks that creeped her out. Mom said the driver stopped the bus and put the guy off the bus in the middle of a corn field in Iowa!
Talk about weird, I don't remember that AT ALL.
I remember the trip, but it was from my 12-year old perspective.
I remember a sweet old lady who sat next to me for one night when we were on the return trip. I kept accidentally leaning on her in my sleep, but then I'd wake up and lean back over the other way, so I wasn't leaning on her, ya know. Not cool for a 12-year old boy to be touching some strange lady. Anyway, after about the third time, she just said quietly, "It's ok sweetie... go to sleep," and I remember snuggling up against this nice old lady and sleeping like a rock.
I remember nasty brown ketchup in the packets at the Cheyenne bus station.
I remember the bus driver missing a dinner stop, and my mom having the only food on the bus. She brought some fruit and crackers for my sister and I, and we shared the food with all the little kids. The adults we SO ticked off at the driver.
I remember these two little kids, brother and sister, getting on the bus in New York, and riding with us all the way to Salt Lake City. They were about 9 and 11 years old, traveling alone (but this was 1976). They took to my mom right away, and for two days, we played and talked and giggled. I remember them standing at the bus station in Salt Lake City, at 10pm, alone with only the clerk there, waiting for their parents to pick them up, crying as the bus left.
I don't remember my mom asking two policeman in the New York City bus depot take me to the bathroom. She said it was so scary there, and I had to pee so bad, that she waved down two NYPD officers, and said she wouldn't let me go to the bathroom my myself in this place, and asked if they'd go with me. She says they were really nice. We actually sat on our luggage so no one could steal it.
Oh, the memories go on and on. Suffice it to say, mom and I had a wonderful lunch. She's such a wonderful lady, and I often take her for granted. She given me so much, and continues to help me to this day.
I sometimes forget just how blessed I am.