Monday Morning Musings:
“Then we got into a labyrinth, and, when we thought we were at the end,
came out again at the beginning, having still to see as much as ever.”
“From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world.”
—William Shakespeare, Love’s Labor’s Lost, Act V, scene iii
There are bridges that carry us across rivers
And there are bridges that close gaps in time or understanding
But life is a labyrinth
There are no direct routes
It twists and turns
Until it finally ends
We took a bridge to my sister’s house,
Our annual Mother’s Day ritual,
Lunch prepared by my sister and her wife
Stuffed shells, meatballs and sausage for the meat eaters,
A great salad brought by my niece
(ten minutes of agonizing about it over
the phone the day before)
because that’s what we do
The women in my family can make
Not simply mountains out of mole hills,
We can make Mt. Everest out of speck on the ground
But oh, we can spin stories, too–
Best done with food and wine,
Enough food for twice the number at the table
Also part of the tradition–
So we sit at my sister’s table
We talk about our pets
The size of our cats
(big and small)
The time my daughter’s dog
“sprint peed” around her apartment
We talk about family
The “art genes” we carry
The ability to write and a love of chocolate
(Must be carried on dominant genes)
Perhaps a love of spicy food, too,
As no one thought the “hot” salsa was particularly hot
And daughter and I had
a little pizza with our hot peppers the night before
My niece discussing family craziness
“If our husbands die do you want to live together
and we can drink and be crazy together?”
She might have said this to my daughter
That’s perfectly normal, right?
And then it was off to Macy’s
How many women does it take to shop with my mom?
We have our assigned roles,
Hunter and Gatherer of new items
But sometimes it takes a village
And this year, we also have
The bra hunter
And dressing room bouncer
Do you wonder what it must be like
Or why we laugh?
You hook the bra, and I’ll put the boobs in
And later a whispered aside:
Just put the pillow over my head if I start wearing bras like that
She has great boobs– you have good boob genes
(Is this carried along with the writing and chocolate gene?)
To the dressing room bouncer,
How about if you close the door– I’m sitting here in all my glory.
Finally, the shopping is complete
My mom has quite a haul– dress, pants, shirts—no new bra
What $40? Forget it?
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
We head back to my sister’s,
where my husband, brother, and sister’s wife
have been watching the Phillies
Time for dessert,
My brownies and daughter’s cannoli dip
We like our chocolate
What? You don’t make coffee at home?
Back in the car, driving my mom home
We talk of family history
We learn that some of her family lived in a refugee tent city
Caught there between Belarus and the U.S.
Early in the twentieth century
Perhaps during WWI?
My mom doesn’t know
She said her cousin, then a young child
Thought it was fun—the children got to run around and play–
Their mothers probably did not enjoy it as much–
We arrive at my mom’s, but
Just before she gets out of the car
She leaves us with one more family puzzle
Her father left family in Russia who vanished during
That would be WWII.
I have no idea what to make of this.
How did they vanish?
Life is full of such puzzles
We can never solve all of them
But there’s a quest to try
To work our way through the labyrinth
Not right now though
And so we head back over the bridge,
East with the sun at our backs
Where there is more chocolate waiting for me.