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Things you really don't want to discuss with your mother...

My elderly (78), slightly senile, mother called today. She wanted to talk about our latest visit, and said almost exactly the same things she had said when I called a couple of days ago, only hours after the visit. She tends to do that, but it doesn't matter; we know she forgets, she sometimes remembers that she forgets, but most of the time she forgets.

She is one easy caller, my mother. I pretty much just answer the phone, and she takes it from there. A lenghty conversation only requires the occasional "Aha" or "Mmm" from my side, while she rambles on about this and that. Mostly she reports incidents from her day, and sometimes from years ago too. Most anecdotes will be told more than once during a conversation, and if I try to stave off another rendering by saying, "oh, yes, you told me" in a light voice, as not to hurt her feelings, she will laugh and still tell the story, only somewhat briefer.

Today she began telling me about a book she is reading. Something about some plastic surgeons. One of the persons in the book tries to (or succeeds in, I never found out) embarass or intimidate his ex-girlfriend by taking out his erect member.

"It said something about a 'blueish or violet thing", my mother says. "Really. In the middle of the afternoon. I mean, it's not very pretty, a thing like that. It was always nicer with the lights out, if you know what I mean?"

I may have made a noncomittal sound here.

"And then he obviously wanted her to 'do it' by hand. I never liked doing that. Your father sometimes took my hand and helped me, but it wasn't really me. He liked it, though."

I'm not sure what kind of sound I made here.

"He never forced himself on me, your father. Not like that first husband of mine. No, the second one it was. Did you meet him. No, of course, you weren't born then. He was a jerk! Do you like to do the hand thing?"

"--- "

"Well?" she insisted.

"But... I think it's one of these things you don't want to share with your mother." I tried, but she just sniffed. "I don't ask you to share it with me. Just tell me."

"Well..." I lied. "Sometimes. From time to time." And she took that as had I agreed with her, and that I didn't like "the hand thing". She does some wonderful jumping to conclusions. High and long jumps, over whatever obstacles there might be in the way - such as truth or proof, or the absence of either. And the world is more peaceful if we agree with her...

After some ten minutes of "Oh, I must be running along now. Just called to tell you... Why did I call again? Oh yes...", we got to say our "Love you, speak to you soon" and hang up.

It took me a while (and some serious music) to get the pictures out of my mind. My darling so laughed at me, but did agree: There are just some things one does not wish to discuss with ones parents! Don't get me wrong: I love my mother, and I'm unfailingly patient with her, 'cause she never chose to become senile. And, well, maybe I'm just overly sensitive, but still...


Okay, this is borgo speaking here and once I again I feel compelled to offer up a poem by what is fast becoming my little prodigy. A little history might be in order.

According to what I see at the local libraries, book stores and by all accounts, her school, April is what is known as National Poetry Month. Last year, her poem was chosen by Barnes and Noble as one of the finalists and she was chosen to read it in front of a pretty large audience. This year, she submitted another one and I’ll be damned but she wound up winning the whole kit and caboodle for her age group and will be reading again this weekend.

I know this sounds pretty dark and brooding for an eleven year old kid but people have often remarked to me that she was born with an “old soul”. Maybe the happiness she displays on the outside is just a mask for her inner turmoil as she bears down on the teenage years.

Maybe, but I doubt it… If pride is indeed a sin, then I’m certainly guilty on all counts. Without further ado, I present to you the…

Tales of a Troubled Soul

Sweet silence
The sense of clean in the air
after a storm
The feeling of power
after the battle

The sinking feeling of longing
For the sweet, sweet rain
to come again
The feeling of loss
for the injured

Black walls staring at you
hiding the unknown
A time to talk to one’s self
while thinking of the past,
The good and the bad

The longing to tell your story
to make them laugh with you
and to cry
that separated feeling

The feeling of maturity and strength
The feeling that you have lost yourself
from happiness and laughter

The feeling of losing control
and of adventure
Then feeling the eyes on you
as the laughter fades away

Of all the things we have to offer,
why do we choose the worst?
Why do people say the things they do?
Why do I do this?

So step up and save me
from this lonely raft.
I’m drowning in its spell.
Make the loneliness fade away.

I am a long way from home
and I have nowhere left to roam.
Why do you push me and tell me to leave?
Only when I need you to believe?

Believe that there’s time to change.
That there’s time to lengthen your comfort range.
Tell me that everything’s alright.
I think I know and so do you.
That there’s no time to run away again.

So when the rain is hitting the walk so long
Just find what you believe and let go a song.
Just know that the rain will fade away
But I will stay strong

So sit me down and tell me to listen
and tell me all of your troubles
Find the words from deep down below
and scream them out to me.

For all of these years that will go by
I will remember your smile.
If I find you out on the road, we’ll sit and talk for awhile.
But this is for you,
and that’s all that needs to be said

I found 2 grey hairs in the last 24 hours. One as I was putting it up yesterday before I went out, and one just now. I don't go looking for grey hairs, it's just that I've had my hair down and when I glance down sometimes they glint up from my shoulder.

I don't really dislike my grey hairs. I'm more ambivalent than anything, really, but I have a tendency to pull them from my head. It's not that I'm trying to mask my slowly advancing years by surreptitiously discarding my grey, but rather because I really like looking at them. I find them really neat looking.

It perhaps would make more sense to contextualize this a little. My hair is long and grows fairly slowly. I trim about 6" off every six months or so. A pulled strand is often well in excess of 2' long, and the strands are very thick. So, what I like to look for in my grey hairs is that quite often the color change is gradual and obvious. Mid-strand they go slowly from dark brown to golden brown to practically blond to white, and the texture changes too. The hair gets coarser and wavier. It's like looking at strata in the Grand Canyon or a pan of lasagna. It's time delay without the work.

To make a getting too long story short, I pulled both of these two long white hairs and both of them were about 24" long and pure white. Except for the last half inch on the root end where they'd abruptly changed back to dark brown with only a very short transition.

I think my decision to quit school and start my own business was a good idea. I think this is another bit of proof.

If I were going to title this, I suppose I'd call it "The Best Birthday Present Ever." I can just imagine the flood of response nodes either criticizing the GTKY nature of my contribution, or one-upping the touching tenderness of the content. Better to daylog this one, and tell you that, were anyone to ask you to write an affadavit that spelled out in detatched but thorough detail just how he knew you were married in good faith, this would be the way to do it.

Now, my dad was an attorney, so he doesn't do affadavits. He does "Certified Statements". He does them with excruciatingly objective language and attention to rules of evidence. His feelings as a father and as a suegro to a nuero el mas respetable peek out like small children peek out from behind doors.

It starts out like this:

(Name withheld), of full age, makes the following certified statement, according to applicable law, in support of the continuing application of (Name withheld but it's Mi Marido) to advance his quest for citizenship in the United States of America:

His quest. Dad, really. Mom always said that men were more romantic than women. Now I know, she meant "Your father is more romantic than I am." My eyes are opened. Dad always liked his new son-in-law; from day one, actually, which was Easter three years ago. Maybe it was the romantic appeal of The Immigrant, here to pursue the American Dream, with all the implied bootstrap-pulling and sacrificing. You know, the quest.

The other paragraphs are concise, and numbered, and factual. They contain sentences such as "I observed them both make the appropriate wedding vows required by the Roman Catholic Church," and phrases such as "in the manner expected of husbands and wives." Nothing there to indicate how hard dad worked to clean up the house and yard for my wedding reception. Nothing about how mom carefully remembers to say "Love to Christian." Just the provable facts.

My favorite paragraph is paragraph 5. Goes something like this:

5. During their stay with us, {My Husband} devoted careful attention to learning and practicing the dressing of his wife's incision wound and caring for her temporary colostomy, including the cleaning of excrement from and freshening of her colostomy bag whenever needed; and they slept in the same bed during all this time, even though another bed was available should he have been so inclined.

And the Academy Award for the Best Use of the Word Colostomy Bag in a Legal Document goes to -- my dad has a positive genius for absolutely hysterical understatement. A world of better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health lies beneath that deadpan. This is supposed to be talking about a man who came here for opportunity and here's his fantastic opportunity: cleaning my infected incision. Actually, Papi said he didn't mind doing that; he used to stick his fingers inside chickens to check for eggs. I guess dad couldn't include that as it would be "hearsay". And my Papi doesn't even shift to the couch when his wife gets a colostomy. If they're going to fast track olympic figure skaters for citizenship, shouldn't they do the same for a guy who shared a bed with a bag of poop?

The best part, really, is that with that document, and the application and the copies of other things, I get to keep my husband. The guy who cleaned my colostomy bag. That's the best birthday present ever.

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