April 22, 2011

Mom's Mistake

My mom is a saint. She's a pure angel who floats on a cloud, gives out compliments, treats everyone nicely, and gives mean people the benefit of the doubt. It drives my dad crazy.

Her compassion and benevolence often caused my sister to cry at the dinner table.

We had to institute a no-sad-story-at-the-dinner-table policy on behalf of my sister, whose sobs routinely turned to gagging fits. This seemed to be a policy to which my mom never quite adhered.

As a child, my mom was so perfect that I can't get any good stories about her out of my grandparents. When I asked them what the worst thing she ever did was, their honest answer was that when she was in first grade, she ran out into the street chasing a squirrel without looking both ways. I had been hoping for some dirt like a story about how she ran off with the teenage son of the local mob don, changed her name to Harmony, and served as a drug mule in the 70's. Turns out, she never even puffed a cigarette.

But she did make a mistake involving a pelican once.

We were out on a dock on the intercoastal waterway, unloading the unused bait from a fishing trip, when a large pelican swooped down and landed on one of the pilings. He waited atop the barnacled post, watching us work and eyeing the frozen fish. That's when my mom got an idea.

She explained it to me with enthusiasm.

I had some concerns.

She continued to endorse the plan. She said it would be fine. She had never lied to me before, so I held up the fish, ever so tentatively.

I cried out in anguish, partially from the pain of my shredded hand caused by the sea beast's razor beak, partially from my all too close encounter with a disease infested sky demon, and partially from my loss of innocence resulting from the shattered facade that parents were always right.

My mom never got over her guilt. To this day, when she sees a pelican, she dies a little inside.

On the plus side, I did get a sweet scar out of it.

1 comment:

Aunt Toy said...

But now you know that when we were little, she once kicked me in the stomach and knocked the breath out of me. Not quite in the same category as a drug mule but it's up there!!