Every year when February is finally over, I swear that the next time it rolls around that I will crawl into bed, cover my head and stay there until March 1st. But I don’t. As the rest of the year rolls on, the memory of February’s pain and general stinkiness wanes and when it does arrive the next year………I am taken by surprise and caught in its clutches again. It just kinda sneaks up on me. February is a very sneaky month.
Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the day my mother, Lucy, died. It doesn’t seem possible. She is still, and I guess always will be, a very real presence in my life. As much as I loved her, I never imagined that I could miss her this much. It’s the little things that find me in a puddle. And it’s the little things that make me smile and remember with warm, wet tears streaming down my face that my family was blessed with an extraordinary gift from God. She taught us well, kept us in check, and straightened us out when we found ourselves on a crooked path.
Thanks, Lucy! You were the BEST!
To help me wipe away the moisture leaking from my eyes as I write this, I thought I would bring you another Lucy story. My previous Lucy stories showed you her wit but Lucy was smart too. Clever, clever, clever. Allow me to demonstrate:
The following story was told to me by my mother’s dear friend on the day of Lucy’s memorial service in Indiana.
When my parents first retired, they bought a place in Florida and would spend the winters in the land of the sunshine and their summers in Indiana. The best of both worlds, right? Turns out…..not so much. You see, when you neglect a property for six months of the year, it takes the next six months to get it back up to par. Retirement was hard work and they realized they were “doing it wrong”. And so they decided to take the leap. They would sell the house in Indiana and make their permanent residence in the sunshine state.
This created a whole new problem. Even with two households, storage was a problem for my packrat mother. My father put his foot down and insisted that she downsize their “stuff”. Everyone accumulates stuff over the years but my mother was a master in this field. The woman had STUFF.
Knowing that the task at hand was larger than herself, she gathered her friends together to help her. As she sorted things, she would tell this one to “put this in that pile.” She would tell another friend “to put this in that pile.” And so it went. She threw out a lot. She gave away a lot. But slowly her friends realized that she was still keeping way more than what my father was allowing. “Lucy, he’s never going to let you take all this stuff to Florida.” She told them, “Never mind about that, just box up that pile over there.”
And so it continued. For days, my mother and her friends would sort through her belongings. Each time someone would gently remind her that she was supposed to be downsizing, she would wave them away saying, “Don’t worry about that. Just box up that pile over there for me.”
When the very last box was sealed, she piled the ones that would go to Florida in one corner and then she looked at her friend, who I will call Hellen……because that is her name, and said, “Hellen, you take the rest of the boxes to your house and put them in your barn. I have a plan.”
Now when you’re from Indiana and you move to Florida, people will come. “People will come, Ray. People will most certainly come.” (Movie, anyone???) And people did come. Among the friends and family members who came to visit every year was Hellen and her family.
Activate “Operation: I GET TO KEEP MY STUFF AND HE WILL NEVER BE THE WISER
Each time my mother heard that Hellen and her family were coming to Florida, she would instruct Hellen which box to collect from her barn and bring to Florida. One by one, visit by visit, my mother had every single one of those boxes delivered to her and Daddy never knew a thing. That is until the day of the memorial service when Hellen shared the story with us. I love this story. I love it for so many reasons. I love how it shows just how truly clever Lucy was. I love the covertness of it all. And I really love Hellen for giving it to us when we needed it the most. It gave a smile and a warm memory to comfort me when I’m feeling blue like I am today.
I love you, Mom. I miss you more everyday.
Dear readers, if you are still here, thank you for sharing this memory with me as I work through my feelings and therapize myself. And I do feel better now, thank you very much.
If you would like to read more Lucy stories, just type Lucy in that little search widget in the top left corner of this page. I’m too lazy to link them all.
Patrick has a new update on the Hope for Haiti blog. Click here to read.
Smart Mouth Broad