Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday Musings(tm) 07 November 2015

Good morning,

This musing will be shorter than usual.  I'm typing with a sprained left hand which I'm told is riddled with arthritis.  I'll be examining voice-to-type software; it seems my wrists, like the rest of me, have aged quicker than the average human.  C'est la vie, I suppose.  At least I can see the computer screen again, with my new specs.  One lens has to be remade but even with one eye slightly off, my vision has considerably improved.

Struggling to my feet yesterday, something that grows increasingly difficult, I thought about my mother.  She's been gone half my life and I think of her far less than I do my father-in-law, whom I only knew for five years but whose death deprived me of a parental love of rare purity.  But nonetheless, my mother's voice echoes in my mind.

At nine years old, I tried to persuade my mother to enroll me in a dance class.  We stood in the kitchen nose to nose.  My stubborn nature compelled me to jam my little fists on my hips and glare.  I could not understand her refusal.  There was no charge for the first few lessons; I would have been willing to stop after that if we could not afford to pay.  I just wanted to try.

Mother pursed her lips.  She raised her hands and placed one on each of my shoulders.  Her eyes closed.  She drew me against her chest.  Mary, oh Mary, my sweet baby girl, she murmured.  I felt a sob run through her body.  A warm flush rose in me, spreading through my stomach, settling in my lungs.  I could not breathe.

I pulled back from her then.  What's wrong, Mom? I asked. I followed the path of two single tears dropping from the corners of her eyes down her olive cheeks.

She shook her head.  You'll never be a dancer, Mary, she told me.  I felt my eyebrows draw together.  But why? I asked.  Why can't I?  She did not answer.

My mother turned away from me then; she told me, go set the table for supper.  She lifted the lid of the pot on the stove and stirred its contents, letting the fragrant steam waft into the kitchen.  I did as she asked, getting the silverware from the cabinet across from the basement door and the plates from the cupboard hanging on the wall.  My brothers and sisters wandered into the breakfast room and took their places at the table.  My dad came up from the basement.  Mother and I sat down last. Neither of us spoke as the prayer was said and the food was passed.

When my mother had received her cancer diagnosis in 1984, all of us started spending more time with her.  Walking in her garden one Saturday, a soft autumn day much like the one outside my door today, I asked my mother if she remembered my yearning to be a ballerina.  She paused, then sank to the park bench.

I do, she admitted.  I deeply regretted not letting you take that damn class, she told me, then, for the first time. I should have let you dance.

We fell silent.  After a few minutes, she reached to take my hand and we sat together in the afternoon air.  I don't know what she felt.  She never said; and I never asked.

Mugwumpishly tendered.

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.