Today would have been my mother’s 93rd birthday. She died almost twenty years ago and I still miss her. When I see an egregious grammatical error, I almost expect to hear the phone ring with her calling to laugh about it. I miss her sitting on her porch steps awaiting our arrival as she didn’t want to give up a single moment of our visits. I miss her saying “lovely” with dripping sarcasm and accompanying eye rolls when she saw something tasteless. She was smart; she was fun; and she epitomized what my grandfather said was our family motto: “Often wrong but never in doubt.”
I caught my love of reading from her. She also modeled a disdain for what she called drivel. When she was recovering from surgery, three of her friends brought her copies Bridges of Madison County to keep her occupied. She looked at me with fear in her eyes and said, “Jesus Katie, do they think the cancer’s gone to my brain?”
Mom would have enjoyed reading Facebook if only for Grammarly.com’s posts. She’d be an evangelist for the disappearing Oxford comma and would be appalled at the increasing use of “I” instead of “me” when used as an object. She had no respect for her church’s interim pastor because he used “irregardless” as if it were an actual word and I can almost hear her asking me to give her one good reason why anyone would ever say “Where is it at?”
She’d be happy that I still love to read and write and that I share my lists of books with others. She’d be glad that the copy of Little Women that she inscribed “because you love to read” as a gift for my eighth birthday is on a nearby shelf where I can see it. She’d remind me that she reared me well then bemoan the fact that no one remembers that one raises cattle and rears children.
*The photo above is of the Wells Memorial Library, where I went at least once a week with my mother when I was a child.