Give Me a Break (excerpt)

We hadn’t been out much in the past year. I thought a breath of fresh air would do us both some good. So we, as Mom liked to say, went “gallivanting.” We Jersey-Shored it for Caryl’s royal spa treatment, which gave my Day of Beauty a royal run for its money. We drove to Long Island for lunch with Dad’s sister, Claire, the last of her generation. Closer to home, we traversed the county visiting favorite places only to find time had erased them. A strip mall now stood where Tice’s and Van Riper’s Farms once did. These were the go-to places in the Fall for fresh apple cider, red candy apples, and losing yourself in a sweet cloud of cinnamon. Fishel’s Bakery, home of melt-in-your-mouth cream donuts and our traditional ice cream birthday cakes, no longer existed. T & Ws, who made the best chocolate chip mint ice cream, gone. Mama Rosa’s pizza vanished—still the best pizza, and the one I measure all others by. Wilke’s Deli replaced Pat’s Deli and overcharges non-suspecting customers for every sandwich. You never had to count your change with Pat. We attended Easter Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, where even at church, Porsches, Mercedes, and Jaguars steal the scarce “accessible parking” spaces, confirming my notion that the disabled only drive the swankiest cars. I don’t believe the lack of morals qualifies as a disability, but perhaps they do. Though Mom couldn’t remember her last Mass, I would think in the eyes of the Church, lack of mobility and near death qualified as valid excuses for any lapse. So, Heaven—for her, and not the morally disabled—should still be in the cards. We also stopped by Valleau cemetery to say hi to Dad. It had been fifteen years since we laid him to rest, and I’m sure at least a couple since Mom’s last hello. Her lack of mobility and near death qualifies here, too. She sat stern and silent for a few minutes then I heard her whisper, “I miss ya,” and thus reducing me to tears.   

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Published by A Cup of Tea on the Commode, a memoir

The parent/child role reversal might not have been unique to me, but how I dealt with it was. "A Cup of Tea on the Commode" chronicles my multi-tasking adventures, filling my mother’s last years with love, laughter, and joy. Though not always successful, I came pretty damn close.

One thought on “Give Me a Break (excerpt)

  1. Thank you, Mark. This is a wonderful path down memory lane. My mother Claire too used the word gallivanting to describe any outing. She would sometimes “accuse” us of gallivanting about town, implying trouble.
    Thank you for taking care of my Aunt Gen to the very end.
    Cousin Michael

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