|Mum, surprised by her three kids: Ted, Tim, Jessica|
My mind drifts. A Vietnamese refugee, Dao needed the extra money. I remember taking my husband's brand new pair of Nordstrom's pants there for her to hem--even though Nordstrom's would have hemmed them for us free. Mum called to tell me they were ready, but when I came to pick them up, she couldn't find them anywhere. I knew right where to look. They were on a rack of "Men's pants," priced at ten cents.
She is getting more selective, I notice. She is learning to coordinate colors and to avoid wearing clothes with missing buttons, stains, and pulled threads. Her hair is so white it glows in the June sunshine--my brother Tim calls her "my little old white-haired Mum." I made sure to trim it when she stopped by a few days ago. I see Rick in animated discussion with her. They laugh comfortably together. The appreciation they have developed for one another is a source of great satisfaction to me.
Ssh, everyone! Rick opens the door for her and Mum, absorbed in what she is saying, is as oblivious to her surroundings as the day she was mugged.
She is completely inside before our "surPRISE!" explodes all around her and leaves her with her mouth quite literally hanging open. She is laughing and crying and utterly speechless, dazedly hugging one after another of the guests. Her "crumb-catchers," the smeared glasses hanging by a cord around her neck, get in the way but no one cares.
|"I am. . .|
|. . . Barbara's dog."|