Friday, June 28, 2013

A Day Out with Mom #3: no pistols for Mom

Getting ready for her day out
"Now you need to fill out these forms over at that counter," the man at the California DMV office tells me. "Your mother can sit and rest while you do that." He has just finished guiding her hand to where she had to sign, first in one place and then another. "This second one has to be tiny," he had said, and then, "Oh, you did just fine."

The process was interrupted a couple of times with squirt gun fights between the state employees who are celebrating the first day of spring with a little water. One woman clerk whispers, asking if Mom wants to squirt the man who's been assisting us. "What? What did she say?" Mom asks. "She's pretty shy," I tell the woman, an easier answer than explaining that by the time I loudly explain the request in Mom's ear, the tactical advantage would be lost. After a couple of other water retaliations between the employees, Mom gets it and says, "It's nice that they can work and have fun."

I lead Mom over to a square of chairs and sit her next to two young women.

"These young ladies will keep you company while I finish up," I tell Mom. "Then you can go home and take a nap."

"A nap!" she says. "I'm hungry. I want tacos."

"Good choice," the young woman next to Mom says with a slight smile. "I had them for dinner last night."

As I leave to fill out the form, I hear my mother say, "My other son fell off the roof and broke his leg. Could've killed him." The young woman leans toward Mom and makes some remark.

Later, our business done, a young man opens the door for Mom. She smiles up at him sweetly as I lead her over the threshold. "Thank you." He smiles back.

"Everyone is so nice here," she says. "And it didn't take us much time at all."

"Yes, the DMV is known for that," I tell Mom.

* * *

On the way home we hit the supermarket again.

As we walk past a wall of small cans, Mom asks, "Do you like tuna fish?"

"Mom, that's cat food."

Laughing, she says, "Your grandfather once got caught eating dog food. 'Lee, that's a can of dog food you're eating,' we said. 'Tastes pretty good.' He was always able to laugh at things like that. You're more like that than your brother and sister, more like me, too, than your dad."

We pass the fresh cakes and cookies section. "How much do these cost?" she asks.

"Mom, remember we're trying to save some money," I tell Mom, although I'm really trying to maintain some continuity in her diet. She's been loading up on her favorites, and sudden changes in diet can affect her her heart medication.

"OOOOO-Kaaaayyyyy," she sighs, accepting completely my suggestion. "We've got enough money for that rabbit food, though," she comments, referring to the kale I've bought to help ensure she gets her vitamin K.

"My dad had rabbits during the depression," she says. "All kinds and colors of rabbits. He raised them and sold them for food to the folks living along the river in tents. He had a sled that was pulled by mules. Sometimes he drove it along the river and gave away extra food from the restaurant. I'd go along." She pauses, remembering. "Those were hard times. When my parents adopted me, someone just dropped me off at their place, and they signed a paper. It wasn't such a big deal back then."

"Do you want to go back and look at the cakes again?" I ask, my resolve disappearing.

"No, that's okay," she says. "I want to be getting on home so you can make those tacos! You're a good cook."

"Thank you, Mom."

I have to admit, for a vegetarian, I am getting pretty good at not over-cooking the ground beef. I include frijoles with the meal for me to use for the taco stuffing. The last time I cooked tacos, Mom looked at the beans and asked, "Didn't you cook any beef?"

"Yes, Mom," I said. "It's almost done."

As I remember her sweetly smiling up at me, I'm not surprised that doors open for Mom and that clerks take all day to help her. It's a nice feeling, helping this kind woman enjoy her years.

Even though her eyes do not see, she does not walk in blindness.

Copyright 2013 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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