I love my mom. She is 84 years young. She has survived the second world war, my father, and 10 kids.
I asked her once what the secret was to her longevity. She told me it was 3 things:
A stiff shot of gin.
A sturdy handbag.
She tells a story of how she beat the Russian army all the way back to Moscow, but had to beat a hasty retreat back to Germany when the strap on her purse broke.
You would think that beating the Russian army would have been the end of her troubles. Her troubles only just began when she met my father here in Canada. Some 50 years later, they are still slugging it out.
She lives in a small bungalow on a corner lot, with her cat, dog, my 45 year old scrub of a brother, and her arch nemesis, my father. After many children and many hard won battles with my father, her psyche is worse for wear.
Combine that with her age and being over medicated, she tends to do some questionable things.
She saves everything. She thinks that we are still at war.
One hot summer day, after being asked to mow her lawn, I showed up over dressed and under hydrated.
I went to the back yard and wrestled with her antique lawn mower. After much coaxing, the museum piece coughed to life.
I proceeded to mow her lawn, with the sun beating down on me, and wearing a heavy sweater.
I nearly succumbed to the heat,and decided that I needed to take a break.
I shut off the lawn mower, and went inside to quench my thirst with a refreshing drink.
Opening the fridge door, I found two frosted, opaque plastic containers - the kind that orange juice is kept in.
One was orange juice, and the other one was, what I thought was iced tea.
Not being a big fan of oj, I opted for the second choice.
I grabbed the jug, put it to my parched lips, tilted it back, anticipating the sweet, delicious taste of iced tea.
To my horror, the cool liquid was not iced tea, but the less than refreshing, oily foul flavour of weeks old french fry grease.
As thirsty as I was, I didn't react until I had finished a good quarter of the putrid contents.
For weeks afterwards, I walked around with a greasy sheen to my face not to mention the havoc that it played with my gastro-intestinal system.
I have come to the sad realization that her age is affecting her.
This became painfully apparent when Biddie and I stopped by her house one day. We found her making soup in the sink. She claimed that she was just thawing the meat. Mind you, there were vegetables and spices floating in the stainless steel sink. I'm sure that it would have been a lovely meal had it been cooking on the stove and not in the sink.
When we questioned her, she told us to SHUT UP and she went out to rake the cement driveway.
I'm going to miss the person that my mom once was, but I'm sure the Russian army is breathing a sigh of relief.