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.