MOM

This is Richard Widmark in a movie called Kiss of Death. Widmark was my Mom’s favorite actor and this was her favorite movie (it’s not a comedy) . My Mom gave me a love of old movies, a lifetime of support in everything I pursued and the good sense not to take myself too seriously. And about 10,000 other good things.

My memories of Mom often involve humor. When I was a kid she’d let me stay up late and watch old movies with her. The “TV Times” would come in the Friday Star-Phoenix (made them harder to deliver btw) and many times the late night movie was “TBA” and we’d have to wait to see what TBA had in store for us. Mom would often say things like “sometimes TBA has good shows, but sometimes they’re terrible” and I honestly thought of TBA as a giant movie making house somewhere in Hollywood or New York or England. Some years later my cousin Vernon was visiting from BC and mentioned “TBA” was “to be announced”: she howled with laughter. I miss that laugh.

When my Mom was 12 years old, she saved two kids from a housefire near Neilburg, Saskatchewan. She was given a handmade certificate from the town which I have and hold as one of my favorite possessions (along with my Dad’s army discharge papers and a few things from my kid’s childhood). I think of that moment in her life sometimes, she was just a little kid for crying out loud and she ran into a burning house and saved two lives. That’s a helluva thing, it really is.

My Mom was a sweet lady, you’d have loved her. She did however swear like a trucker and had a TERRIBLE temper. My Dad built a house in Maple Ridge, BC in 1961 (up on Thornhill, past the school) and he built the cupboards too high. As a little kid, I remember her swearing non-stop when a glass would break. One time, my Dad said “well there’s one more glass broken” or something like that, and my Mom said (and I remember this like it was yesterday) “you like that, do you Ira? Well, you’ll LOVE this!” and she broke every glass in the cupboard. Aw, God we laughed about that for years. No wonder she liked Richard Widmark!

My Mom had this thing about being “fair” with her two boys. As kids, we’d each get the same number of cherries from the fruit cocktail can (big whoop right? BIG deal at our house in the 1960′s) and it continued forever. I never gave it much thought (I honestly don’t care, I knew she loved me) but one time I called her to borrow some TV trays (I was having a guy’s poker night and needed them for drinks and such–no food on the table during poker!). The conversation went something like this:

  • Me: “Hi Mom, I’m having some guys over for poker tonight and was wondering if I could borrow some of your tv trays?”
  • Mom: “Oh dear, I knew you would find out, I gave all of the tv trays to your brother.”
  • Me: “That’s okay Mom, I’ll just run to the store and buy some. It’s no big deal.”
  • Mom: “No, Lain. It IS a big deal! I’m always giving your brother stuff and forgetting to give you things.”
  • Me: “Mom, honest. Don’t worry.”
  • Mom: “It isn’t right. I gave your brother the china cabinet, the hi-fi (my Mom called everything that included a record player ‘hi-fi’), your Dad’s 303 British Army rifle and that silverware collection.”
  • Me: “Uh, well, WHAT?!?”
  • Mom: “I knew you’d be mad!”

Today, I’ll call my wife’s Mom (an angel herself) and my kids and I will celebrate their Mom because she deserves that and so much more. The world would not survive without Mom, and the world is not the same without my Mom. When Dad left us it took me forever to come to grips with it and when Mom passed in 2009 I kind of figured out that you never really do get over the loss of your parents.

So, we celebrate them in life, as we do with Moms everywhere today. For things we can never, ever repay, for things given without expectation, for love that knows no boundary, thank you Moms. We love you.

Wherever you are.

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13 Responses to "MOM"

  1. Clay says:

    Great story LT. Thank you for sharing it.

    Happy Mom’s day, mom!

  2. Radman says:

    Well said, as always LT

    You mention her not taking herself too seriously. As a boy, one of my dad’s hunting buddies gave me a fox tail. That was a prized possession for sure. One day I snuck into the kitchen and pinned it on the back of my mom shirt. It was so awesome. Even the fox was jealous.

    Kinda forgot to take it off her though and she went to the local Econo-Mart for some groceries. A concerned gentleman approached. Madam, do you realize you have a tail ? She was set to wallop the guy, until she looked around. The produce department erupts in laughter. I live to tell the story.

    Miss you Momma mia

  3. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Great story LT.

    Your mom sounds like a real card, a Queen I gather. With her around the house, you just need to find the 7s and 9s.

    And boy can she pick em… Widmark… wow… Next you’ll tell me she likes Dan Duryea too! If ever there was a guy to play a louse on the make it was Widmark.

    I think I mentioned it before, but if you all get the chance see “Night and the City”… extraordinarily cynical and one of Widmark’s best.

  4. HBomb says:

    Great story LT.

    You want to know why my mom is terrific? She understands both me and my sister, and my dad (which might be the bigger challenge).

    Example from a week ago on the phone:

    Me: “So what’s the plan for mother’s day? Dinner at Baba’s?” (Sidenote: I’m still lucky to have one grandparent, my 85 year old grandmother, around)
    Mom: “Well, that’s the plan – but we were thinking more along the lines of brunch. I checked the Oil Kings schedule for the final series against Portland and noticed game 6 would be in Edmonton at 4pm that afternoon – how about 11am meal so you can still make it to Rexall for the game?”

    Dead damn serious on this. She knows me too well after 31 years. (Sidenote 2: with the Playoff Pass for the Oil Kings playoffs this year, it ended up working out to $8.25 per seat per playoff game – roughly the cost of one beer at one Oilers game. Best damn money I’ve spent in awhile!)

    The really odd thing is that (considering my personal affinity for “The Liquor”, and the fact that some would consider this to be a possible genetic trait) even though she likes a glass of wine now and then, I’ve never seen her even what I’d consider to be remotely tipsy. Even at family weddings, she always ends up being DD, not only to get my dad’s wobbly self back home, but she’ll arrange to make sure I get home in one piece as well.

    God bless her.

  5. tcho says:

    Thanks for sharing this, LT.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.

  6. TheOtherJohn says:

    Superb article LT

  7. innercitysmytty says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    LT, I’m a longtime reader and absolutely love your blog! Have to say that these are the types of articles that make this place so much better than all of the others (on top of the brilliant hockey analysis). I lost my mom 3 years ago last month and reading this brought back a lot of good memories! Thanks for this!

    Edit: Didn’t mean to reply to previous post – sorry about that.

  8. supernova says:

    I am not sure what I would be / hope to be without a great mom in my life.

    The ones That have a Great mom in their lives are truly blessed.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Awesome stuff, great reading folks! Radman, great story. Rom: I have that movie on my list, been there awhile but I’ll see it eventually (might have seen it a long time ago, but will know instantly when I see it again).

    HBomb: That’s the thing about Moms, they know us better than anyone.

    InnerCitySmytty: It’s a club no one should ever have to be a part of, isn’t it?

  10. ianf says:

    Great story LT, very well written.

  11. Spydyr says:

    Wonderful stories. Thanks for sharing. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY !!! For each and every mother reading this.

  12. lawrenharris says:

    “Kiss of Death” was Widmark’s debut role, and is most (in)famous for the scene where he shoves an old lady in a wheelchair down a huge flight of stairs. His demented giggle in this movie is a thing of beauty. Altogether a remarkable Mothers Day tribute.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Lawren: My Mom did an EXCELLENT impersonation of Widmark saying “you old HAG!”

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