Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Who are you most like?

I have the mother-in-law suite here.
This is the early morning view from my window.
Half snow in our yard.
Half mansion across the street.
Eric asked me at the dinner table, “Who are you most like? Your mother or your father?”

He told me before dinner that he was going to try to get me to tell stories of my childhood.

The form of his question actually stumped me.

Most people tell me that I am like my mother. I have some of her outward trappings, but I think that on the inside I am a female replica of my father.  When people's beliefs defy reason I can feel a churning inside that I think belongs to Doral.

I dodged the question.

I told Eric that I was most like my daughter, Catherine, for I see her do things, and I think to myself – that is so me! For example, her taking the 5 or 6 extra coupons to get cheaper gas and running them back in the line to people who were getting gas behind her. Eric laughed and said, “Well, you have me there. That is something I wouldn’t think to do.”

I was left after dinner, still thinking about my parents.

Now that I am older, I think about they way they went out together, not just at Christmas, but every time they went out together. I have no memory of them going to a movie. Nor out to eat together.

Eric laughed and asked me if I wasn't sure that they just slipped off to be together someone.  I don't think they did.

But "dropping in on people"?  That is just what they did. Wyora usually baked something during the day and after the family was fed, off they would go at night to visit someone in the ward – someone who was inactive, someone who was grieving, a family in distress, a family new to the ward, or leaving the ward, someone with a new baby or recovering from an operation, someone who was old, or someone young and on their own.

Wyora had a gift in her hand, something from her heart. Doral had the words that took them over the doorstep and into the centre of conversations in their homes that were fun. More than fun – joyful. Meaningful.  Words that people would remember for years. Words that would come back to him in phone calls, or cards, or letters.

Now I don’t presume to be like either my mother or father, any more than genetics have determined. 

But the question, who are you most like?, might mean, who are you just a little bit like.

I do have my father’s curiosity about what makes people’s lives peculiar to them.

And I have a bit of my mother’s joy in giving.

Arta

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