There was a quite unassuming demeanor that floated around my mom. But when you got her going she was a kick in the pants. After my parents married they grew up together, fast. I may sound like a history teacher but it was after WWII, the big one, as they say. During a time when grownups did things in bunches. Bowling groups, lodge groups, work groups. Always having some reason to just celebrate life. Often with a drink or two involved. And I’m okay with that. They had some fine times. Why on earth is that of concern to you today? Because it sets the stage for this little story about the fact that parents are people too–and when I discovered that fact.
You see when parents are finally seen as human beings by their offspring they lose parental control. Hopefully the children are nearly grown and have enough common sense to assume their role as near-to-well grownups themselves. This is sometimes known as the period in time as the, “You live under my roof – you follow my rules,” season of life. Followed by the disruptive moving out period.
In the house I grew up in there was an extra step in between high school and moving out into what was supposed to be freedom, but in reality is the cold cruel world until you get your footing. During that extra step time period I found out that my mother was a pretty cool mom.
Mom was known for her RED lipstick, lacquered, tall hair and quiet manner. She and dad would occasionally go out with friends to the Midget Bar and just have fun. My dad grew up in Sparks, Nevada and played basketball against a young Paul Laxalt, from Carson City, who grew up to be Governor Laxalt of Nevada. Dad and he ran into each other throughout the years and that is how good old, quiet, unassuming mom meet him.
One afternoon as she and I were cleaning house, (which seemed like we were always doing because five people in one house, with one bathroom is always in a state of disarray) she mentioned to me that her and dad were going out that evening. It was an election year so politicians were running amuck around the state and Mr. Laxalt would be in town and she and dad would get to visit with him. Seems he like to sit and talk with dad and hold moms hand in the process, which she thought was pretty cool. He was and still is a handsome man.
But then an impish gnome entered into our cleaning session. I don’t remember how or why the feather pillow ended up as the center of attention that fateful afternoon, but it did. For some reason there was mom, me and an open ended feather pillow. She took a feather and blew it at me and laughed. I took a few feathers and blew them back at her and laughed. She took a handful of feathers, giggled and tossed them my way. Then the race was on. It was a true pillow fight. It snowed feathers and rained laughter. Do you know how many feathers and how much down there is in a king sized feather pillow? I’m guessing about fifteen geese worth. It was a blast.
I finally saw my mom as a real person through the snow of white down as we grabbed and tossed and laughed our way toards the bottom of that torn pillow. It was a turning point in my growing up. About two thirds the way through the pillow she started squeaking about having to go out that night. “Stop, stop,” she laughed and laughed. Probably for the first time in my life I saw her as a real down-to-earth fun loving woman.
There was a price to be paid for the fun. Her big, lacquered hair had taken hold of the feathers giving her the appearance of being tarred and feathered. This was no way to meet the Governor. After she talked her way into a quick comb out from her hairdresser and having to explain to her and the ladies in the shop how the feathers got in her hair she had a fine evening. Even though the hair looked fine, she did say that there were a few stray feathers that fell out onto the bar, and she smiled at me.
I wouldn’t trade the day I met my mom as a person for anything in this world. I hope each person that reads this will get the chance to meet their parent or child as real people in such a way that they never forget.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.