Richard has always said that Mother’s Day is the worst day of the year because it has absolutely, positively nothing to do with him. It’s the only day of the year when all attention is on THE OTHERS.
This past Mother’s Day was very nice. My parents, Richard’s parents, my sister Beth and her family, and some friends came over. We ate brunch-type food, exchanged gifts and had a grand old time – that is until Richard announced that he has been spending his Thursdays around noon-ish narking on the war protestors he watches from his office window, most of whom are little old ladies.
Without giving away Richard’s views on politics, let me say that he wants to head up a coalition to carve Ronald Reagan’s face into Mount Rushmore. I also want to say that while I realize the picture I have painted of him so far is not very pretty, he really is a nice person. He is usually kind to old people, and some animals. But he has no patience for old people or animals that break the law.
Richard explains that it’s not that he is against the protestor’s right to protest, it’s that they “break the law” when they place their signs into the planters in the plaza where they gather to protest. This, he says, is against some city ordinance and that no matter what their signs said, he would want to enforce that ordinance. He is a commissioner of a committee for the city, but the commission he works for has nothing to do with planters. However, because he is a commissioner, he is keenly aware of many ordinances that most of us common citizens are not. And, judging by the vast amount if his ordinance knowledge, most of us should consider ourselves lucky that we don’t know as much as he does on this subject.
So, as he mentioned his penchant for turning in little old ladies, his mother’s jaw literally dropped onto the dining room table. “I never raised you to be like that,” she sputtered! His father and my father laughed out loud. He just knows how to make his mother’s hair stand on end. I already knew he sent little old ladies to the hoosegow, so for me the whole event was like watching an overly hyped fight on pay-per-view: short, but entertaining. I knew no one was really getting in trouble. I knew that the community police would just come by and gently suggest to Florence and Gladys that they not place their signs in the planters, even if their frail little arms could barely support the cardboard the signs are made of. No one was really going down, going to the big house, or the clink.
Then, sensing that this would be an awesomely opportune time to break some news to my sister, my nephew Joey announced that he is planning to buy and bring home a hedgehog. He is graduating college and moving back home to find a job, hence the hedgehog would be moving to my sister and brother-in-law’s house with him.
I knew Joey was thinking about getting a hedgehog and that he was planning to tell Beth and her husband Sam at some point, but being the smart kid he is, he realized he might as well just jump right in there and tell Beth while a scuffle was already in progress. I knew the minute he told her because as I was washing dishes in the kitchen while the fur was still flying in the dining room about little old ladies being squealed upon, I heard a distinctive, familiar, guttural sound erupting from deep within my sister.
“Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam,” she screamed! Sam is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He is the only man who could live with my sister and the only guy my sister could live with. He has a way of calming her down and it worked. It was finally agreed upon that Joey was going to bring home the hedgehog to join the dog, the leopard gecko, the ball python, the bearded dragons, and the assorted fish and crabs that Joey had brought home over the years.
“I just can’t deal with another thing dying,” Beth said as she walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. One of their bearded dragons had recently gone to the big terrarium in the sky. I knew I had to do something and do it fast or she would end up in a fetal position on the couch. “Here,” I said, “take these.” I gave her a couple of Benadryl to take the edge off. She wasn’t driving home and she could just sleep off what was in effect the equivalent of a tranquilizer dart. I didn’t want thoughts of dead bearded dragons dancing in her head to ruin her Mother’s Day.
“You ruined my Mother’s Day,” my mother-in-law said to Richard. “Would you have me arrested if I picketed in the plaza? Maybe I’ll get all of my friends together and we’ll stick our signs in the planters next Thursday.”
“I love you, Mom,” Richard began, “but if I thought you were a threat to national security I’d have you fitted for an orange jumpsuit and shipped down to Gitmo.”
Richard’s mother looked at him with disbelief and said, “I’m going to go outside for some fresh air to calm down.”
“Did you give your sister Vicodin to calm her down,” my mother asked me as she walked into the kitchen? “Vicodin,” I said? “Where did you get that idea? I gave her Benadryl. Believe me, Mom, if I had Vicodin I’d be taking it right now.”
After everyone left and I had finished cleaning up I sat on the sofa and felt grateful that my son hadn’t decided to get a hedgehog or have me arrested. And then I realized something. Father’s Day is coming up. I got up and took a couple of Benadryl.