Mom died three years ago when she was 88. I cried a bit around the time she passed but I hold off on showing my feeling when folks go on about her. I like to think I’m being strong for Dad, now nearly 92, and also because like most men, I think I’m too macho to cry.
The other night was different. The house phone jangled shortly after dinner and I chanced to be next to it so I picked it up.
A small feminine voice came dancing down the line. “Hi,” She sparkled, “this is Casey with Southern Arkansas University. May I speak with Chloie Tucker May?”
“Um,” I murmured. “She’s not here. I guess I should tell you that Mom passed away about three years ago. This is her oldest son.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to bother you. We call to update our files periodically. I’m sad to hear of your loss.” Casey said.
“I believe she has a picture of your school hanging on the wall here at the house. It’s been here for many years. She enjoyed her schooling with you.” I volunteered.
“Do you mind telling me about your mother?”
That’s when the fabric-like curtain around my old heart started unraveling.
“Okay,” I ventured. “She lived to be 88. She and Dad were married 65 years.”
“That’s awesome. But, what kind of a person was she?” She was an extraordinary woman who lived an ordinary life in an ordinary, small southern town. She raised three little girls who are now three exceptional women. They are so much like their mom. I wish I could talk well enough to explain how special they came to be to me. She raised my little brother and me. Neither one of us has served a single day in prison so I guess she did right by us, too.”
Best of all, she took care of our Dad who isn’t always someone easy to take care of. He’s kind of set in his ways. The good news is; Most of his ways are how Mom trained him to be. He’s nurturing and kind, very fun to be around and a great example for his children and grandchildren to follow.”
By the way, Mom was among other things, a great cook. She has her own cookbook out, you know. I use it a lot myself.
“I could talk a lot about how special Mom was but I bet you have other people to call.”
“Well, I do. But, I want to thank you for telling me about her. I’d like to be more like someone like her, myself.”
“You should do that,” I explained. “The world would be a better place for it.”
We hung up and I walked out on the back deck and had myself a very good cry.