Christmas 1998 - Part 2
My mother got out of the car like a lost child. It was shocking to see her in that state. She was a woman that had always met life head on; unafraid and undaunted. My father looked frustrated, frightened, and relieved all at the same time. They tried to tell me about their unsettling experience as they were getting out of the car, each of them talking at the same time, bumping into one another's words. My father had gotten lost and taken the wrong freeway turnoff. They got so turned around that they didn't know where they were or which way to turn to get back in the right direction. They had been going around in "circles" (my mother's word) for hours. My father had forgotten how to get to "Penny's house" (my father's words). They were so relieved to have finally arrived at the right house that they didn't even attempt to go inside. They both just collapsed on the bench on the porch. (This was the first 'in our faces' experience of the confusion and memory loss that would eventually overtake my father, but at the time we all thought (or hoped) it was just a case of freeway turnaround. It had happend to all of us at one time or another.)
We sat on the bench on the porch and I listened while they released their fears. As we sat quietly and soaked up some winter sunshine their nerves started calming and my mother turned to Pop and said, "I'll go inside and make you some coffee while you unload our bags from the car."
I had been so caught up in their story I had completely forgotten about 'inside'. Now that they were nice and relaxed I was going to have to take them, did I mention that them included two dogs, into a house that resembled a warehouse and try to find a place for them to sit and drink coffee. How the hell was I going to be able to entertain them for a day or two when I had boxes and Christmas decorations thrown everywhere.
I should have known better then to underestimate my mother. One look at that mess and her face lit up! Now here was something she could do something about. She instantly appointed herself the Director of Personnel. Pop was directed to take their bags to the bedroom. I could tell by the dismay on his face that he was re-thinking his great good luck in finding 'Penny's house'. As he passed me on the way to the bedroom I whispered that if he was really smart he would close the bedroom door and take a nap. He whispered back that she'd find him no matter where he tried to hide, so he may as well suck it up and take The Director's directions.
And then along came Jim. Now, Jim loved my mother dearly, and my mother loved Jim dearly. They had several things in common. She was a great cook...Jim loved to eat her 'great cooking'. She loved to laugh...Jim loved to MAKE her laugh. She was very competitive when she played cards...Jim was competitive ALL the time. She was gregarious...Jim was gregarious. AND they both loved to play "DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL".
I had 30 boxes, my parents, my parents 2 dogs, my 1 dog, 2 young grandchildren I was babysitting, and 2 Director's of Personnel.
And then my younger brother pulled into the driveway with his 1 wife and 3 dogs in the car. Heaven help me, my Christmas spirit was melting like a Chistmas candle left lit too long.
"Continued in Next Entry"