Actually, I notice that the older Mom gets the more hilarious it becomes. For example, here’s what she packed:
1) Her dog.
2) Her dog’s bed, blanket and a quart jar of ghastly homemade dog treats.
3) A kiwi. The fruit, not the bird or a person from New Zealand. And only one of them.
4) A bag full of miscellaneous medicines, prescriptions and over the counter, some old enough to have Rexall labels on them. (See, kids, once upon a time there used to be this drug store chain called Rexall, but … oh, never mind. Go ask your grandparents.)
5) A box of Kleenex because, you know, I might not have any or my tissues might be another brand.
6) Half a jar of dry-roasted peanuts. Because they might not have the ones she likes in Indianapolis.
7) A gigantic bag of prunes. Because prunes might not have found their way to the largest city in the state, either.
8) A bag of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Not the box. The bag inside the box. Because you never know when you’re going to need a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats.
9) A sleeve of crackers. Special crackers, I’m told, because you just can’t get decent soda crackers these days.
10) Seven days’ worth of clothes.
All this for a visit of …
And if the truck would have held more, I’m sure she would have packed it.
Mom’s in town to get her back checked. She keeps breaking her vertebrae, which you may take from her is not something you want to do a lot of. It’s been a few months since the last fracture, though, and we’re hopeful.
She’s been good about following the doctor’s order to avoid lifting anything that weighs more than a bag of marshmallows. She has been excellent about following the order not to bend over, but that’s because she has spent all this time encased in a brace that binds her front and back. It looks like a shell. In fact, I suggested she paint it green and be a geriatric Mutant Ninja Turtle.
You know, some of my jokes make my mom laugh and others just sort of lie there. You can guess what happened with that one.
Oh well. For all her weirdness – who packs a bag of cereal, for crying out loud? – it’s kind of fun having her around. It’s not often that Mom and I just get to talk, and I like to take full advantage of the opportunity.
The topics range from food to relatives to Amish customs and back to food again, but the conversation is always lively. My mother is nothing if not opinionated, and she does not hesitate to point out ways in which people can improve themselves. Which is another way of saying it’s probably just as well that some of the relatives do not overhear her.
What the heck. It’s Mom, and she’s at that age where I suppose she’s earned the right to be frank. Or rather, more frank. And she’s earned the right to a few quirks as well. If she thinks she can’t travel without a 3-pound bag of prunes, who am I to judge?
The cereal, though, is going to puzzle me for a while.
Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on speaking fees and availability, visit www.spotlightwww.com.