Mother's Birthday

TALKING TO MYSELF: 2 MARCH 2013 Were my mother living, she would be 92 today. I wish you all could have met her.  What a woman she was, kind, intelligent, as  solid and stable as the rock of Gilbraltar, persistent, but what I remember most is her laughter. The excerpt below is the prologue to the second section of Butter in the Morning:  You Might As Well Laugh Mother Always Said.


Humor is … a sense of intellectual perspective:
an awareness that some things are really important, others not;
and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs. -- Christopher Morley

 I can count with my fingers the times I saw Mother cry, but she laughed most every day. She was not a funny person, though. She didn’t have Daddy’s wit, that perfect quip at the right moment, or his comedic gift for telling a story that could make you laugh until your side ached.  But she had a humorist’s perspective on life, a dead-on instinct for sorting Morley’s “really important” stuff from the “not.” When things went awry but the worst didn’t happen, she’d say, “You might as well laugh.” When far-sighted Aunt Sis accidently made her famous pink potato salad with oven degreaser instead of salad oil – and we didn’t end up in the hospital. When my high school buddy, Sally, broke her leg in a car accident en route to buy shoes for the junior prom – but blessedly wasn’t so hurt she’d never dance again.  When – oh, the list goes on and on for a lifetime, even when the infirmities of advanced age assaulted her with new indignities on the hour.

She knew, as all humorists do, that laughter and tears spring from the same source, sorrow and disappointment. There was a time for tears, of course, but mostly she believed that crying was a waste of time because it “didn’t accomplish anything.”  Laughter, on the other hand, was an important defense weapon in her battle to survive.  Laughter was her tonic and her psychiatrist – and her gift to me.