Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Of course, my mom wanted us to stay with her. I hadn't seen her cabin for about four years but that horrific memory was enough for me to make up any excuse to get out of it, despite her telling me that since her last burst pipe incident, the place looked great. I think I told her we were packing a lot of Viagra for our trip. That was the end of our invitation.
My mother has a blind spot where that cabin is concerned. There it sits, on the main road into the national forest, headlights lighting up the windows and forest vehicles zooming by making a racket, and she thinks she's living in the center of peace and tranquility. It's made out of beige clapboards with a peeling porch and a circular black-top driveway with weeds poking through, but what does she see? A log cabin in the woods.
But that's just the outside. When we got there I noticed that her decor included every piece of furniture that had left my house, my six sisters' houses, and her own house, in the last 30 years. In the main room there were three rocking chairs - including a glider rocker - along with a pink arm chair and ottoman, and two leather couches. There was an enormous cow-patterned rug on top of the carpeting. The walls were covered from top to bottom with pastel Southwestern art and hooked rugs of sunsets made in the 70s. In the only open space in the room stood a portable evaporative cooler as tall as a human being, blowing so loudly that it drowned out all conversation.
My mom yelled, "ISN'T THE FAN GREAT? IT COOLS OFF THE WHOLE HOUSE SO WE DON'T HAVE TO OPEN ANY WINDOWS!"
I asked her if she could turn it off. Then I counted all the seating. I said, "Ma, are you expecting a crowd? You've got enough seats here for nine people but there's only the two of you each night."
"Well, you never know. Someone might come up. Doesn't it look great? I found a place for everything!"
"My neighbors - they have junk in their cabins. Junk!"
"Hard to believe. Junk?"
My husband was on red alert because, like a dog, he can enter any home and immediately sniff out its problems. The last time we stayed at the cabin, we walked in and within 5 minutes he was on the roof fixing the TV antenna and then crawling beneath the house. I swear, he was burying a bone. This time he had the place pegged: leak in the hall bath, no water in the evap cooler, rotting porch. He was holding back on fixing things, though, because we had to get back to town. He sat down on rocking chair number three but refused my mother's offer of fruit salad. She was eating it with her hand out of the serving bowl.Soon my mother yawned. My stepfather yawned. It was 5:00. Time for dinner and bed. We took the hint, made our excuses and left.
We heard the fan going back on as we crossed the porch.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
My mother called me up recently to tell me she had heard about a movie about the Jews who had hidden from the Nazis in the forest during World War II, just like she had. Have I heard of it?
She runs all these things past me because I'm the Super Jew in the family. Of course, there's a very low bar on Jewish adherence in my family. In this family, just subscribing to the Jewish newspaper means I'm some kind of Jewish fanatic.
But I do keep on top of the Jewish world, so I say, "Sure, Mom. It's called Defiance. It came out awhile ago - over six months. I just bought it on DVD."
This gets her very excited because if my mother can combine her two favorite things in the world, the Holocaust and television, this is a good thing indeed.
She says, "Can I borrow it?" And I say yes even though I haven't watched it yet. I bought it because of my family's history and because I know I should watch it, but, really, I have no intention of watching it. Having been raised in my mother's Holocaust immersion school of child-rearing, I can't stand to purposely subject myself to it. But to my mother? Pure unadulterated pleasure. Nothing can be better than two hours of complete abject misery - watching and crying, crying and watching.
I bring it over to her house and she says, "Oh, good! I'm going to watch it right now! Can you put it in the machine? You want to stay and watch with me?" I swear part of her thinks that maybe she'll see someone she knows.
Of course this wasn't even tempting to me. I say, "No thanks. Two hours of Jews being chased through the forest by Nazis who are trying to kill them? That sounds like my childhood."