I turned and saw, sure enough, that there was a bright green garden hose lying across the flagstone walk. Still. Benign. As apparent and unthreatening as Barney on quaaludes.
I looked back at my mother with a face that I can only imagine said to her, without the need for words,
"Are you TOTALLY out of your gourd?"
This is serious.
I don’t mean “serious”, like “your chocolate is in my peanut butter” serious. I mean serious as in “your car keys are in my larynx” serious. Not “get me the police” serious; “get me the President” serious. Not “my nose hair needs trimming”, but “my nose hair has mutated, become aggressive and engulfed my head.” [n.b.: here I must profess, to anyone familiar with my writings, a bit of a fascination with nose hair. I acknowledge it. Call it a hobby.] My point is that this only goes down once. It needs to be handled with the utmost care and, if ineptly handled, it will almost certainly result in some yet undetermined annual and painful reminder of just how ineptly I once handled an occasion as important as a 60th birthday. To be clear, this reminder would almost certainly come from my beloved wife (as part of her ongoing, well-intended quest to needle me into raving, drooling insanity) and not from my beloved mother, who almost certainly does not give one rodent’s hirsute hindquarters about her birthday and is likely to wish a pox upon me for even mentioning it. Still, as a dutiful son, I feel compelled to give the matter due consideration.
“Don’t Trip Over the Hose (or, Things I Learned From My Mom)”
I decided to go ahead and, despite its destined failure to measure up to the occasion, buy my mother a “gift” for her birthday. It’s a necklace…a very simple heart at the end of a very modest chain. I put “gift” in quotes, because I don’t really intend it as a gift in the usual sense. Instead, I hope it is a simple, constant reminder of my boundless, undying, absolute love, affection and respect – a little fob she can put around her neck as she sees fit -- as simple, unassuming, and beautiful as the relationship with her that I treasure so.