So in honour of Mother's Day, a story about my mom. This is the story I always think of when I'm trying to come up with a good story about her. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because it's the closest she ever came to killing me. And several members of my family.
And yes, there is the off-chance mom will be reading this. She does pop by the blog from time to time, however she's kind of in the early stages of her internet exploring. I love her, but she still forwards me email jokes, pictures of LOL cats and chain letter threatening terrible things if I don't forward them on to everybody I know. But she's at that stage of things.
So if this upset you, mom, I'm sorry. But you gotta love me, as I'm the only kid you got.
So I'm 12 years old and mom gets together with a couple of family members and decides to go to Florida for two weeks. For whatever reason, dad doesn't come along on this trip. Instead it's me and mom, along with my Aunt Joyce, my Aunt Peggy and three of my cousins - Penny (9), Randy (6) and Adam (I think about 2).
I'm not saying this is an expedition of the damned, but looking back on it, it certainly was a curious mix to march off to Florida. I don't remember much about the trip other than fighting with my cousins, passing out in a flea market in St. Pete's from heat stroke, and mom nearly killing us all.
We were driving from St. Pete's to Orlando in, I think, a station wagon of some kind. This would have been back in 1982, which I'm pretty sure is in the days before mini-vans, so if you wanted to cram a lot of people into one vehicle, a station wagon was the way you were going. Mom was driving and since even at that age I was good at maps, I was navigating.
I was trying to tell mom that she needed to make the next turn-off on the interstate, but she was chatting to one of my aunts. And so the turn-off went zipping on by. That was roughly the point where mom asked "was I supposed to turn there?"
"Yes," I said.
"Where's the next point I can turn around and get back there?"
I consulted the map. "Looks like it's about 20 miles away."
"Oh. Well, that's too long," she said. And then hit the breaks and began backing up the car.
On an interstate. In Florida. For about a half a mile.
I was only 12 years old and I knew something was wrong. Possibly it was Peggy and Joyce screaming they were going to die and questioning mom's sanity that might have had something to do with it.
Miraculously, there was little traffic at that time. I think only one car zipped past us as we were going in reverse. I didn't see the driver's face as he went by, but I can imagine it quite clearly. It was one of complete confusion, mixed with curiosity and terror.
We eventually made it to the right turn-off, where mom calmly put the car in drive and we headed on our merry way. She honestly didn't understand what the big deal was. She was just backing up a little bit, after all. And there wasn't that much traffic.
So there we go, my favourite story about my mother. I mean I have plenty where she was wonderful and did nice things. Or that she's always been proud of me or that I can count on a couple of fingers where she's looked at me and been disappointed in something I did, but never said anything about it, because the look accomplished everything that needed saying. Or that my friends often liked her better than they liked me.
Anyway, happy mother's day. Both to my mom, and all the moms out there.
1. Halfway home - TV on the Radio
2. 48 hours - Sean Panting*
3. Pineapple head (live) - Crowded House
4. Drunk again - Mo Berg
5. Piano blink - Hawksley Workman