"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mum's party, 1985 (3)

Mum, surprised by her three kids: Ted, Tim, Jessica
     We are all in the clubhouse waiting. I peek around the drawn curtains. She's coming! She is wearing a dark blue pleated skirt and a mottled blue polyester blouse I haven't seen before-- undoubtedly, like her sturdy brown shoes and purse, some of the latest arrivals at the thrift stop where Dao has her sewing business.
     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."

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