Today – January 25, 2008 – would have been my mother's 23rd birthday.
I can say with impunity because my mother – born on January 25, 1935 – was always 23. At least as long as I could remember… if there was a time she was some other age, I do not recall it.
"Mommy," one of us would ask… "How old are you?"
"Twenty-three." Would come the unvaried response.
It is not as if mom were a liar; I am sure that in her mind, she was twenty-three. I am sure that in her mind, the .8 mile walk from where the lake house she and her siblings had grown-up in (outside of Urbank, Minnesota) was, indeed varying distances from 1.5 to 5.3 miles and it occasionally was probably up-hill both ways to get to the bus stop. And sure, why not! She might have had to battle wild Indians and Polar Bears with nothing but her pencil box and book strap in order to make it to the bus stop. Who can say?
It is a far more interesting universe in which the road exhibits such elastic properties while her age remains rock steady! In much the same way that it is such an interesting universe where one could fall out of a tree, breaking a leg, and still have the option of "running to tell [mom] about it!"
I honestly believe that hard work builds character. (Why not? I've been told I am quite a character.) I also believe (despite the OSHA statistics to the contrary) that nobody ever died of a little hard work! What the heck, I even believe that by tossing a book (a pencil, a grape, whatever) to my sister can, in fact, result in someone losing the use of one or both eyes!
So, here's to you, Mom! In your honor I will even consider making a completely inedible pot of [shudder] beef and barley soup. Or perhaps some Glorified Rice! Yum!
Wherever you are today, tell your mother you appreciate her!
Don Bergquist – January 25, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA