Below is a beautiful poem by Donald Hall called Summer Kitchen which he wrote after the death of his wife Jane. It reminds me of my childhood, particularly my mother’s place in it. She, too, saw miracles in the ordinary.
I was gonna share a happy memory about my mom on this web log today but I didn’t get very many words down before the ache in my guts became too much. So instead I headed to Dolores Park to picnic with friends before returning home to stuff myself with Kentucky Fried Chicken whilst watching Instant Family with Bevan and the canines. Even though she’s not here to tell me as much, I know my mom would’ve understood.
I was lying in bed mainlining pressed juice and binge-watching The Office on Comedy Central while hosting a fever in my body at the Element Austin Downtown earlier today when a memory surfaced that granted me a grin.
One evening several years ago myself, my dad and my brother Bryan were cackling like idiots to an episode of The Office in the living room of my parents' condo when my mom entered.
Mom: What are you laughing at?
Me (gesturing to the TV): The Office.
My mom went quiet as a scene unfolded in which Jim played the "Hot and Cold" game with Dwight's desk, which had been relocated to the men's restroom.
Mom (rolling her eyes): This show will never last.
As she walked out of the room the three of us looked at one another and did our best to hold back smiles, none of us having the heart to tell her that "this show" was then in its seventh successful season.
My dear mother was perfect, even if her pop culture predictions were not.
My first job out of college was as a marketing intern at a theater production company in Chicago. During my time there The Color Purple had become a huge hit on Broadway and Oprah, who'd starred in the movie version of Alice Walker's novel, decided to bring it to the Windy City. Because she staged the production in one of the theaters that was run by my company, I ended up with four tickets to opening night, so my parents took the train in from Michigan to join Kelly and I in an audience that included Oprah (and Stedman), R. Kelly and Roger Ebert. Needless to say, my mom fell in love with the show and it was, forever after, a special memory we shared.
I like to think that my mom was there with us at the Orpheum Theatre last night when, during the first curtain call, an emotional Sidney turned to Bevan, pulled him into the tightest hug and said, "Thank you, dad."