Saturday, May 10, 2014

I'll Take "Access Denied" for 500.

During the summer, when Daylight Savings is in effect, there's a three-hour time difference between Arizona and Indiana.  This is extremely annoying and it ain't saving me any time.  In fact, it's DRAGGING me BACK in time to the gloomiest, most torturous daily half hour of my childhood. So at this time of year, as I'm driving home from my job between 4:30 and 5:00 pm here in Chandler, Arizona, and I reach for my cell phone, anticipating a cozy mother/daughter chat during my commute, I'm stopped by the unpleasant realization that it's between 7:30 and 8:00 pm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Which means I CAN'T talk to my mom.

Because she's watching Jeopardy!

Ugh! Jeopardy!  That same old half-hour game show that came between me and my mother's highly-prized attention when I was in grade school.  My brother and sister and I were trained to leave her alone while she matched wits with the Returning Champion. I had to WAIT to show her the book about Jane Goodall I had checked out from the school library. I had to WAIT to tell her about Mr. Martzell's outrageously chauvinistic prediction concerning the upcoming Billy Jean King/Bobby Riggs tennis match.  I am telling you, that torturous Final Jeopardy "waiting" music dragged on and on like a Peter Jackson movie after you've polished off an extra large soda from the concession stand

I am not writing this to make my mother feel guilty.  Heaven knows, the woman deserved a half hour of educational television to herself.  I've just been thinking that certain things have not changed in the past several decades.  I still yearn for time with my mother.

In many ways, my mom, Judy, was not the typical mom.  She never stressed about having a perfect house - we enjoyed our time together in the evenings and we all cleaned together on Saturdays with the radio blasting. She was occasionally known to tell her children somewhat inappropriate jokes. We were tucked in bed by hilarious characters she made up on the spot. I can remember one or two practical jokes she took too far, such as when I was home alone one afternoon as a fifth-grader and had to take an upsetting phone message from a mysterious stranger calling about the side-by-side funeral plots my parents had supposedly purchased.  And, of course, my siblings and I absolutely loved all of it.

Although my mother is a very social person, she also requires a lot of alone time. In my youth, when she came home from work, after greeting her family, she shut herself in the bathroom for a few minutes of privacy.  She never really got it, though. The three of us kids would clamor in hallway, yelling our news of the day through the closed door.  I remember sliding artwork or school papers with good grades under the door for the poor harassed woman to appreciate. We just couldn't wait to talk with her.

Today, my siblings and I threaten to burn up the cell phone towers with our regular phone calls to Mom.  The grand kids also call or text to get her advice.  When she heads out here to stay at my sister's place for a visit, my two adult kids feel ripped off if we don't have plans to see her the very day of her arrival, even when her plane won't land until nine in the evening. We all love to be with her.

So I automatically reach for the phone when I have a funny story to share or exciting news to announce like, "Hey, I got another blog view from the person in Germany!" If it happens to be time for Jeopardy!...well, fortunately for Mom, I have matured a bit in the past forty-some years. I have developed the skills to occupy myself for that half hour or even until the weekend.  

Thanks, Mother, for always being there for us, listening to us, laughing with us and telling us what we needed to hear even when we didn't want to hear it.  And thanks for being willing to put Jeopardy! on pause even though it might make a mark on your TV screen.  
I love you, Mommy!  Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Huge long lines burned onto the tv screen!! It looks like two tornadoes forming over whatever landscape is appearing on the screen. At first, it appeared a funnel was just beginning to drop from the ominous cloud at the top of the tv screen. But now, after hours of being on pause during conversations with my wonderful children and grandchildren, two tornadoes are about to touch down. Soon I will be screaming into the phone . . . They're on the GROUND!! OMG!! They're on the GROUND!

  2. Well, it all makes more sense now, your awesome sense of humor, your imagination... your stories! Love this, Andrea!


Do be nice to everyone.