My mother is a pretty lady. She laughs a lot . . . real loud with a big, open mouth that reveals two rows of perfect teeth.
She's deaf without the aid of two hearing aids, one of which will always be on the fritz or in need of a battery. She can talk very clearly. So clearly, in fact, you wouldn't even know she's deaf. But ask her to say "Mississippi", then you'll know. I think sometimes that embarrasses her, but I love it. I love it when she says "Mississippi".
My mom is the hardest working woman I know. She used to build helicopters but now works for Halliburton making oil sensors. She was in a Bud commercial during the "For all you do, this Bud's for you!" advertising phase.
My mom built a helicopter for the NYPD and got a hat from it. My dad used the NYPD hat to try to get out of a traffic ticket. I was with him and acted as his interpreter. My dad told the truth to me, and I interpreted a lie to the cop which was better. He didn't get a ticket. When I moved to New York, I worked on the precedent-setting licensing efforts and confiscate unlicensed NYPD hats which escalated after 9/11. Funny how things go full circle.
My mom can embarrass me, hate me, like me, anger me, comfort me and love me like no other and today is her birthday. I called her on her cell phone and she's at the beach again.
I don't miss that beach, but I miss that beach with her when she'd make homemade sour cream and onion dip, and I'd get scolded for double dipping the Ruffles.
When we got back to our trailer in the woods, we smelled like the ocean for days. Tiny grains of the beach would find their way into my bed and scratch my sunburnt skin as I slept. I would always get too much sun so my mom would rub me down with vinegar and freshly cut aloe plant to take the chills and blisters away.
We'd talk about our trip. About how my uncle got stung by a jelly fish. About how we got a flat tire on our '66 Chevy pick up truck. About how my Flintstones flip-flop fell through a rotted slat while riding in the back of that Chevy. About how my dad stopped the truck then and there to run across four lanes of Houston highway traffic to rescue that flip-flop for me because he loved me that much.
He was probably drunk, but I didn't care. I was in awe but I felt guilty, too. That flip-flop was a cheap old thing and didn't even fit me anymore.