“You have the coolest parents!”
Do you have any idea how desperately I tried to keep my friends from knowing my parents? Really meeting them and letting them, like, talk? Even the thought of my dad and mom’s dull, blunt monochrome style t-boning our world’s brilliance and sharded, bursting colors left me in paroxysms of horror, lying discarded in a corner, convulsing and drooling down my favorite green paisley shirt.
I jealously guarded my home life. I admit that I was ashamed of Mother’s trademark faded housedresses and Daddy’s drab-gray and bilious-tan boring work clothes. Both of them wore sensible, work-style shoes for practically everything except going to church.
It was like they sat down over our little round kitchen table and strategized how to totally embarrass me, their third son and fifth offspring.
I was as shocked – shocked, I say – as anyone, then, when after the few times I simply could not keep my anachronistic dinoparents apart from my friends, their responses were always the same. “I really like your parents. They’re COOL.”
You’ve figured it out by now, right?
My memories of my mom began when she was 43 and I was, well, wearing Huggies if they’d been invented yet. I never knew Mother when she was younger and cute and colorful and all those things I mistakenly thought were the most important to my kiddiness. By the time I showed up, she’d already borne 4 siblings, three of whom had already married and begun a bumper crop of my nieces and nephews.
I was never consulted as to my wishes regarding uncleicide. It was unceremoniously inflicted on me. It’s very likely I was born in a snit.
It never phased Mother. She just went right on being who, what and how she was – comfortable in her own skin, sound in her own living and clearing the decks and patios and yards to tackle the Raising of Dan.
This, then, was The Ida Code she tirelessly taught and modeled for me, which I’m just now beginning to fully appreciate.
Whatever else I do in this life, I am first and foremost a Christian. I’ve given my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and it’s Him I serve. Your opinions matter, for I love people and will love anyone who will let me love them. But my first love is Jesus Christ and it’s His opinion that counts most.
I do not seek for happiness, for it is fickle. My aim is Joy; always Joy.
I refuse to shrink from daily chores which break nails, wrinkle and begrime skin and occasionally bruise flesh and create sore joints. For when my day is done, so are they. I will always celebrate the necessity and value of good, honest work.
I am short but I’m stout. I’m ‘old-school’ and will put up with no impudence nor profanity. I’m longsuffering and understanding to a fault when I need to be; but you’ll be picking yourself up off the floor if you dishonor God, our home, our nation or our flag. I may never be rich, but I’m a giver. However, if you start taking advantage of my goodness, you won’t ever want to try it again. I met my husband in a logging camp, up in the Oregon mountains. Later on, I raised three small children during The Depression. Don’t be fooled by my cheerful demeanor or this old house dress. I’ve been around, I’m tougher than you’ll ever guess, and I’m not about to tolerate laziness or smooth, slick con games.
I love color, harmony, and texture. I love gardens. I love flowers and throughout life have grown them and left them in my wake. I love conversations over coffee. I love to see where ‘that’ road goes, what’s around the next bend and over the next hill. I’m cheerful in my common-sense rejection of overeducated, foolish, self-absorbed people. I’m equally cheerful in my quest to sit and listen to those who’ve been where I have not, experienced what I never shall. I believe every person I meet knows something I don’t, and can do something better than I can; and I’m tireless in finding out what those things are.
That was my mother. And you know what?
My friends were right.
The longer I live, the more cool she becomes.
God gifted me with the mom I most needed. For that I’ll always be grateful.
© D. Dean Boone, May 2016