Rick's List - Happy Mother's Day Edition

My sainted Mom — aka the Thelm-Unit — still selfishly insists on expensive, lavish and totally unreasonable Mother's Day gifts. A race horse! The nail used by Martin Luther to affix his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Castle church door! The tiger that slawed the face of either Siegfried or Roy (at 92, she can't remember which — and that's okay because neither can Siegfried or Roy)! Stuff like that.

And, boy, does she pout when she doesn't get a cool present!

Truth told, Mom is and always has been just happy to be remembered, and I thought I would do so with a few of my favorite moments I've been lucky to share with her in my time as her kid.

1. In seventh grade, I'd forgotten a football or baseball shirt or something similar, and Mom brought it to me after school so I could go to practice. I went out in front of T.W. Browne Junior High as classes let out — and it so happened that two guys had agreed to meet by the flagpole for a fistfight. Naturally, a crowd gathered, and I was preoccupied with the impending violence, forcing Mom to get out of her car and stride cross the school yard with my jersey.

"Watch out!" some kid yelled, worried that Mom was some self-righteous interloper who would halt the bloody fun. "Here comes some old lady!"

Mom, realizing the warning referred to her, handed me my shirt, said loudly in the sort of reassuring tone meant to soothe a skittesh cat, "I don't care who kicks whose ass," returned to her car and drove away.

2. In college, like many pupils, I was bursting with intellectual growth and not near as brainy as I thought I was. Over Christmas break, Mom and I got in a political disagreement and I, suggesting no intellectual stimulation other than my own was required, haughtily dismissed one of her points by saying, "I live in my mind."

Mom: "Well, you must have a small apartment."

3. Mom loves honky-tonk music, and we constantly heard Willie Nelson, George Jones, Merle Haggard and her favorite, Ray Price. Some years ago, when Price sang at the Mohegan Sun Arena, I called Mom back in Dallas, and she listened to his entire set over my cell phone. The reception was almost spookily clear, and she was absolutely delighted. I could hear her murmur happily or hum along with certain melodies, and it was a miraculous and umbilical experience.

One of Mom's favorite of Price's tunes is his immortal rendition of Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good Times." Happy Mother's Day, Thelm-Unit. For all the good times.


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