Thursday, 13 November 2008

November 13th

She was a very special lady to many, including this obnoxious, rebellious, and occasionally downright unpleasant white "townie" kid. She always welcomed me in her home without question. She treated me like one of her own grandkids. She gave me mandarin oranges in November ... the first mandarin oranges of the season, back in the days when our small town grocery stores didn't have imported fruit year round. I think she bought them "across the line".

I called her Mom because that's what everybody called her. She took me to Mass at a Catholic Church ... little Saint Gregory's ... for the first time in my life. It felt like coming home, and I've never forgotten that feeling. We rode to Mass in the back of a pickup truck, and she made me wear a kerchief over my hair.

He was a very special man, at least to me. He welcomed me into his life at an age when he really didn't need to be responsible for raising a kid. He made time for me, and shared his love of fine wood, epic poetry, gospel music, and the myriad wonders of the outdoors. He was patient when other adults weren't. He was gentle with both animals and bratty little kids. He always brought me home a nickel doll or a chocolate bar when he went to town without me. He didn't think much of organized religions, but he shared his deep spirituality and quietly demonstrated his relationship with The Creator.

On November 13th, we celebrated his birthday, cuz "at his age, you know, we don't know how many more he'll have". I decided that was a lie to avoid recognizing the day that commemorated my inauspicious arrival in this world. I didn't blame him though. I still ate birthday cake.

November 13th never rolls around without thinking about him. And her. Different families. From different places, different backgrounds. Both crucial to the person I am today.

Happy Birthday Maggie/Mom. Happy Birthday Dad. I feel your presence. (No oranges or birthday cake this year ... except in my thoughts.)

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