Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Cloudy Crown Revisited

The champion rules again. I asked an innocuous question and she answered with a boomingly belched "OOYAAAYYUSS!!!". Then she made crowd noises and raised her flexed arms above her head, celebrating all the way down the stairs. "Yup", I said, "That's why they pay admission."
I'm off to work. Guess I'll forgo the goodbye kiss.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where A'm a Gonna Go, When de Volcano Blows

Mount Redoubt has grumbly in it's tumbly. It gets gas on a regular basis, about every twenty years. It's been about twenty years. Redoubt is about a hundred miles south on the other side of Cook Inlet. It's closer to Anchorage, where I work. It's MUCH closer to Kenai, where I play. Nobody is too worried about lava flows. Very few are worried about floods from ice melt on the mountain sweeping through the Drift River Valley. What folks DO worry about is ash. Ash can drop airplanes from the sky. Ash can build up deep enough to collapse roofs and shut down traffic. Gritty ash can destroy rotating equipment and irritate the lungs of living critters. The critter I live with has asthma, and I went to the local stores to get a respirator. The newsfolk suggested we have water, generator, food for three days, air filters for our cars, and masks for our faces, just in case. The masks were sold out, but the clerk told me they would have plenty later in the day. He said the owners were here in '89 and '90, when the volcanos last blew. They swore they'd be prepared the next time, and they are. This afternoon, cases of valved masks were available. I bought a ten-pack for the same price as three individuals. I can use them for woodworking, if the mountain behaves. I bought some water. I checked the batteries and candle supply. I suspect that even if we get a poof, and the ash drifts our way, it will a minimum amount and the effects will be short term, but like the owners of the hardware store, we'll be ready. That's a pretty good feeling. Who thought we'd ever find a Jimmy Buffet song relevant in our lives.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Read that label!

Sugar-free chocolate graham crackers. Tasty guiltless journeys to our childhoods. But wait! The label (in tiny print) admits to 19g of carbs per each serving of three cookies. Hardly diet food. But it gets better! After about twenty cookies (They are little, and I was DISTRACTED!), I caught the tiny note at the bottom of the label. 'EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION MAY HAVE A LAXATIVE EFFECT.' Uh oh. Sure enough.
Now, I've never been a great farter, more like my oldest daughter, known for her "booplessness." I've never been big on bathroom humor, either, but kudos to Cable-Larry for doing it well. However, I've found the secret weapon. An important part of doing anything well is having the right equipment, and if entered in the next Blazing Saddles competition, I'm pretty sure of at least dishonorable mention.
My dog has a new respect for me, but skulks into a different room. The wood stove burns with unprecedented verve. The remaining cookies have disappeared not ever to reappear, I suspect. The night was unsettled to say the least, and I was concerned when the neighbor's light came on after a particularly boisterous session. My partner is a saint. I promise to never put her through another experience like that again, unless her mother comes to visit...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nice Girls

The company training catalogue includes a course called "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office". The course is for women (only) who wish to climb the corporate ladder. Much sighing and eye-rolling. If I were young, fearless, and competing for jobs with these women, I'd sign up just to learn what the competition were up to. And I'd litigate my right to attend if necessary! Or not. I've probably never had a corner office because I will always believe that managers, male or female, who understand and tend to their business but remain concerned about their coworkers (nice) will always get ahead. As a favorite little person used to say to me, "You silly, silly man!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Don't Want a 'Black' President

-I saw that look come over my coworkers. Reverend Lowery had just finished the inauguration benediction with his dream of the day "when white will embrace what's right." One person asked if he really said it. Not since OJ was acquitted by a "jury of his peers" had I seen a racial divide like the one that silenced that room.
-Until that point, the discussion had been light, and a bit hopeful, in spite of the fact that while the media world was celebrating, the stock market was demonstrating their faith in the new administration by tanking. I didn't hear one person say anything to diminish the moment by criticizing the new Prez or the process even though many there probably didn't vote for him. Other than one woman who sang a gloating "good-riddance song" to the outgoing president she saw as scum, there was no meanness or negativity.
-I'm guessing the minorities in the lobby became uncomfortable after the speech, because they didn't stay long. Soon after, the discussion I feared began. "Perhaps it's time for BLACK to embrace what's right.", one older fellow got right to the point. That started an avalanche of tirade against everything from the United Negro College Fund to Al Sharpton. Some of the perceived slights to society I'd never heard, and some were poignant.
-Someone wondered if any black folks considered how blacks came across in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Instead of the community rallying to rebuild on their own, the image that sticks with many is the chant for help from the stadium while cops and criminals alike plundered the flooding city. Hundreds of thousands left, and there is growing resentment from the neighboring cities that took them in, while FEMA was targeted for a slow response, and ineffective city and state governments emerged relatively unscathed.
-Another story concerned how all of us remember the "victim" felon Rodney King, the recipient of a beating by some burned out cops, but nobody remembers the name of the innocent truck driver pulled from his truck and bricked to death by race rioters.
-Affirmative action: Hiring preference, scholarships and quotas were deemed unconstitutional, ineffective, expensive, and ultimately, just wrong.
-Yesterday, M. L. King day was celebrated. While the man should be recognized for his contribution, there are other cultural icons that are just as significant to other groups. The man suggests that people start a "cultural heritage holiday", and equally fund an "Irish Studies" program at the university instead.
-Another is disputing, Cosby-like, that blacks are considerably more represented statistically in prisons, gangs, fatherless and teen families, drug addiction, welfare rolls, and even mortgage foreclosures because they are victims. NPR (supposedly) aired an article with a guest describing loan officers "targeting" blacks with adjustable rate loans as if they are more easily influenced to make uninformed decisions.
-Cultural sensitivity to the use of "hate" words by whites, but not other races, was brought up. Racial hate crimes, by law, can ONLY be inflicted by whites in America against other races, not the reverse. A sportscaster was crucified for verbalizing the truth that slaves were bred (more than a century ago) for strength and brains. Instead of choosing to see the factual comment as a verification of superiority in athletics (and by implication, OTHER competition), black leaders chose to focus on the farm animal aspect, and exploded with indignation. Of course, Imus resurfaced. If he had only added "In comparison with Tennessee" (a more conservatively dressed, groomed, and coached team), his "nappy headed hoes" attempt at being hip wouldn't have become another dance party for the Jacksons and Stringers of the world.
-Oprah as victim even came into the discussion. She supposedly lost a portion of the viewer share when she endorsed Obama, purportedly due to racism. Nobody mentioned that the other viable candidate was a woman (day-time TV, Hello?) or that some very strong competition entered the talk show arena during that time frame. The Oprah phenomena in itself demonstrates the opportunity available today for blacks.
-Now, as racist as some of you may choose to believe this sounds, it didn't feel that way. No one was name calling or offering to pitch in on a ferry to Africa. There was no hating on black individuals, and no racial discussion at all of the man, Obama. There is true hope, even among this group, that the country will be successful under the leadership of this man. There is also some sadness that the good reverend's handlers were allowed to offer such divisive comments while the new administration is pleading for united support.
-Now don't get me wrong. I'm fully aware that the election of a multiracial president is a civil rights milestone. I'm not naive enough, however, to believe this event will salve the pain and guilt of the last two hundred years or erase the hate that still exists in some of every race (in equal numbers, imo).
-This president is definitely up against it. He's got enough to tackle without having to deal with people being obstructionist because he's black, or having to waste resources pandering to civil rights activist group's demands. There's a checkered history of black political leaders, from Colin Powell to Marion Berry. The new president doesn't need those comparisons. He will inevitably be described as out of touch with the "real" black experience while being simultaneously condemned for his deemed excessive civil rights support. Black artists and celebrities will expect more inclusion to the D.C. social scene, and appointments to office will be filtered through a racial screen.
-Thus far, this president has only managed to get elected. (No mean feat!) By that standard, G.W. is accomplished by comparison. Much of what G.W. is being reviled for was out of his control, but such is the legacy of the man standing watch when disasters occur. Could he have been a better leader? I certainly think so, but history will tell more of the tale. Unlike so many, I don't have any God-like aspirations for President Obama. I do believe he has handled himself with grace and polish thus far. His appointments have been surprisingly balanced. He is moving quickly on the easy fruit of Guantanamo. So far, after such a very short time, he is a president I can be proud of.
-And that's what I want. A leader. A statesman. A public servant who makes decisions based on what the ENTIRE country needs, not any minority group or PAC. Someone who respects the office (listening Bill?) and the constitution, and all of the citizens who need him. I need someone who can make decisions with the knowledge he will be accountable for them and criticized for them, and open to that criticism without the expectation he will be protected from it because of his race, his political party, or his "mandate". I want a PRESIDENT, not a black president, or a liberal president, or an ivy-league president, or any other-special-interest-adjective-you-wish-to-apply president. And I want him to emerge from his term(s) without anyone feeling it's necessary to focus on his "blackness" to celebrate our successes.
I dream of the day when the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world will be irrelevant, when century old crimes (and thirty-year-old reverse discrimination) will be relegated to history, when affirmative action programs, OJ trials, hate crimes, and the use of nigger/cracker labels will draw equal disdain. The point is that whites HAVE increasingly embraced what is right over the last fifty years. Yesterday's event culminated that process, and for an administration preaching unity, it was probably a mistake to poke sticks at anyone. I'm excited for the change, and truly hope the nation prospers because of it. But no amens from me for the sermon. Until the pendulum swings to the center, "preachers" don't preach hate, and equality isn't governed, then the resentment will fester. I also think it's past time for gloating, thumping the last Prez, and celebrating the election results. We have plenty of work to do without giving ANY group an excuse to stand on the sidelines or obstruct. Some will do so anyway, but let's not help them recruit.
-Update: Ok, I wasn't aware that the "poem" wasn't original. That changes the intent a bit, from taunting more to just celebration. I was around for the sixties, but my diverse schoolmates and I were oblivious to racial hatred. Lucky us.
- Update to the update: It seems I've stirred some emotion with this post. Somebody feels I am incapable of understanding my position of privilege in our society. The point of the post was to look forward with a purposeful unity, and I shouldn't bite the "privilege" bait, but the box is opened, and my view is as valid whether you wish to hear it or not. First, I've never been a slave. Neither have any of you. I HAVE been made to feel uncomfortable in public places of business because of my race, and choose to not visit those establishments again. I'm in a unique position to watch the workings of large corporations, and my observation is that females, people of color, and folks with non-traditional sexual orientation have at LEAST as much opportunity compared with WASP males. Don't believe it? I SEE it every day. At least in my corner of the world, concerning the great civil rights causes of the sixties, that bus has left the station. Activists still beating the drum provided for them by previous generations are just making background noise, but I suppose there a few loose ends to tie, and I'm all for passionate involvement. However, if you look with a skeptical eye, you'll find a lot more hate being generated from the activist sites, churches, and the civil rights organizations than from what has become a VERY tolerant American culture. (I'm excluding 1000th% fringes here) I understand that gay marriage and abortion are tipping point issues, but while very important to a few, there are LARGE problems in America that NEED to be dealt with NOW.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Paxson on Thursdays

-From Paxson: I was coming home early, so I called kinda kiddin' and said "Kick Sancho out, I'm coming home early!", and SHE said "What Sancho? It's not Thursday!". So I said, "Well pretend it's Thursday, turn out the lights and I'll be right there." SHE said, "Nope. I'm in the mood Thursdays. YOU don't know women."
-I couldn't argue there, so I turned to my work boss and said "I want Thursdays off!" and she said "Nope. Everybody wants special days like Thursdays, and you don't rate. Perhaps you should look at the org chart!", so I glanced at all the orgs and, sure enough, all the happy people were at the top, probably because they get Thursdays. There was no Sancho on the list, so I guess he gets Thursdays and all the other days too.
-Then my work boss noticed that I was looking at orgs like she said I should, and that I had my jacket on. She said if I couldn't find better ways to waste the company's money, then she could, and then just before she went home early, she did. Now I have to work late every night this week. I called home and told HER to call Sancho and tell him I'd be home late on Thursday, and SHE said, "Okay."
-But THIS Thursday, I'm not gonna call. I'm gonna leave early, right after my work boss, and get hold of this Sancho that I didn't even know existed 'til today, and ask him how to get off that org chart and how to understand women.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lighten Up

The sun hits the house directly on MLK day for the first time in over a month. Even the animals seem to be ready to celebrate, loitering in the windows near the houseplants with their leaves peeking southward. Vik is back from the lower forty-eight with her contageous busy energy. The thermometer is thirty degrees happier. The kids on the block are back outdoors sharing mischief. A chain of cross country skiers used the bike trail yesterday. We're on the cusp of a new presidential administration, for whom I'm hopeful, if only to involve more people in the debate over where we should be going. It's been a dark time, and I haven't responded very well, "letting it ride" when action would have improved my mood and my finances. But it's a time to be inspired, 4 minutes more light every day. Things will be growing soon. Okay, not THAT soon, but soon! Blessed be the light!!

Call in the dogs

It's 2:44 in the morning because the red-eyed monster says so, and Jeff Hanna sings to me from the deepest recesses of the memory that forgets to take the grocery list I wrote because I can't remember the six items on it. From thirty years ago, "Piss on the fire, call in the dogs, and head it on back (wait) to Bowlegs." Damn you, whiny Jeff Hanna. Now I have to get out of bed 'cause I drank some wine earlier, and guess what, funny coincidence, the fire's out, too. Ol' Jeffs still in there, bangin' around that place in my head that doesn't even exist when the real world is chewing up my diminished synapse power. Down the stairs to stoke the wood stove,and I almost slip when a floppy sock rolls.
"Why am I wearing socks?", I wonder as I robotically select the perfect logs for the embers that remain, then catch myself being OCD, put the logs back, and throw the most IMperfect ones in, just to spite the part of me I don't like. It dawns on me, after thirty years, that the singer in my brain has both of the names of the kids in my sister's family; Jeff and Hannah, and why hadn't that ever occurred to me before? The stove would eventually burn on it's own but I shoot it some air and watch the fire curl up into the reburner where little blue holes form in the flames, and I'm transfixed.
Normally, at this point I'd curl up on the grunge couch and let Bowlegs drift back into oblivion. But there's a dog where he's not allowed, stretched on his back along the sofa's length, one twitching paw in the air, probably dreaming of some rabbit from his youth. And I start thinking of my own youth, my face twelve inches from the inferno I've created, and eye-to-eye with the reflection of the person I've become.
An image is revived of a longhair long ago, actually relieving himself on the campfire while singing the words, "Sometimes things don't work out, But that's the way that life is, son." Me from the past, consoling me now. "All those little mi-iseries, will keep you on the run." I'll say. All the big dreams. All the people I loved, really loved, and hurt, and can't seem to stop hurting. The payments and the workload and the pride and the doubt that keep me from sleeping in this bed I've made.
I remember thinking, when cranky campers told me to "Shut the **** up!" at this same hour so long ago, that NObody in this world was happy, except me. I felt kinda sorry for them, so uptight and worried about what they had to get up and DO in the morning. "There's just no use tryin', to be what you are not. Keep runnin' on that treadmill you'll get tired a lot..." So I promised myself that I'd never work an assembly line, that I'd never wear a tie or be tied down, that I'd always value life's special moments with family and nature, and that I'd savor my freedom, never letting institutions or routine rule me.
I'm awake. I'm sober. Jeff is fading. The alarm clock is nagging. I've learned there are many versions of assembly lines, and I'm headed for one in a few hours. I still don't like neckties and can't tie one properly without a little research, but they aren't the symbol of oppression I thought they were. Most folks still aren't happy, but some are better off tied to something or someone of their choosing. I've compromised a bit on institutions and routine, allowing their pervasiveness and impossibility to deny. And I treasure those moments in the happy zone, but oddly can't seem to actively pursue more of them. "Lot's o' people in this world, just tryin' to make a buck", describes me pretty well. I'm thousands of miles from home, and family, and the land I was raised on, without the time or energy to explore and enjoy this new adventure.
There's hope, I guess, that someday I'll demolish the complex structure of guilt and duty I built, and "Put out the fire, call in the dogs, and head it on back to Bowlegs." Until then, thanks for the reminder, Jeff. Now, shut the **** up.

Apologies in case I mangled the real lyrics, but it's a ponderance how I remembered them at all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Finisher

It was the cruelest thing I'd ever heard said. My sister was teen angst-ing and lashed at our mother. "Do you remember when it happened, the exact moment you gave up your dreams? Was it a choice to throw away your goals and ideals.., or were you oblivious and just let them slip away?", she screamed.
-My mother looked like she'd been hit with a baseball bat. Stunned, she started to speak, then quit folding laundry and left the room. When she returned, it was obvious she'd been crying. She lifted the car keys from the hook by the door.
-"Are you OK?", I whimpered. She managed a half smile, looked directly at my sister, and said firmly, "I love you." Then she left.
-I bickered with my smug sister while my mother was gone. I folded the remaining laundry, ineptly trying to duplicate my mother's tri-fold technique. My sister was distracted, though, wondering (I think) if her hurtful victory in the battle might change the war.
-To understand the impact of my sister's remark one would need some insight into my mother's personality. She is a finisher. She was given a set of guidelines to live by early on, and she's spent every minute since completing the promise of the life she feels fortunate to have been born into.
-My mother has photographs of her infant self and her parents traveling by wagon to their remote homestead. They built a half dugout, and eked an existence from a hard sage-choked land. She learned that every creature needed a purpose to flourish and those without didn't survive. The family was determined not just to get by, but to prosper. She was a serious child, with a stubborn streak and a dry, subtle wit.
-Rare for the twenties, my mother was raised in an extended family that believed women not only deserved an education, but had a duty to self and country requiring it. She had three degreed aunts, teachers all, who saw her potential and insisted upon taking her in to see to her education. She'd had a poor start, and the school she attended stretched her abilities, but she was doggedly set on succeeding, and she did. She worked in the school for tuition, and worked in her aunts homes for board. As she put it, "I missed the depression. I was too busy to notice."
-When an uncle asked if my mother had considered college, she was surprised. "I'd never considered NOT going!"
-She worked cleaning fraternity houses, operating telephone switchboards, and babysitting, to get through college. There was never enough money, and one aunt seemed to sense when things were lean, sending enough food or cash to get by. She was inspired by her professors, who convinced her that she would make a difference in the world, and encouraged her to dream large. She had helped fellow students who had been too privileged to learn coping skills, and she had seen the hardships that her own family had endured in their simple home, so she chose a double major in education and home economics, hoping to teach young adults to organize and enjoy their personal lives with the new technology that would allow them to do so.
-Then she met my father. He had worked for the railroad before the war, had a car, and made her laugh. Roommates married roommates in a double wedding in the home of the Dean of Women. For the sixty years of their marriage, a family joke is my mother's seeming lack of romance in her marriage. "He had a job, didn't drink, was crazy about me. It was during the war. Of course I married him."
-After the service, Dad went back to work for the railroad, and Mom landed her dream job. The high school in the town where they lived managed to burn the building housing their home economics program. She was hired to teach with whatever she could scrounge and operate from the borrowed back rooms of a church near the school. She made the most of her college connections, landing twenty new Singer sewing machines donated by the manufacturer. They cooked in the church kitchen using industrial equipment and set up a mock home kitchen in a separate room. They scoured and polished the chapel with the newest (donated) cleaning materials. Most of the girls sewed their own prom dresses. The students shared their new knowledge of health and personal finance at home, and parents also began to use the school as a resource. The phoenix program was getting recognition, but my mother (by all accounts) was still too busy to notice.
-The next year, when the school board landed a fat sum to design and build a new home economics lab, they approached my mother for input. Realizing she was no architect, she once again called on her college. The civil engineering department jumped at the opportunity.
The home economics department loaned a faculty member for an entire semester. Singer donated more machines. Local appliance dealers, who had seen the benefit from the program already, offered deep discounts for school equipment. Food and laundering products came from across the country. Attendance was booming, and a good friend of Mom's joined the staff. My father was proud and excited, as well. Their little house became a gathering place, and while they reveled in the sense of community, they sometimes lamented their loss of privacy.
-When the new building gleamed, the two new teachers embarked on a different project; the development of a set of recipes that worked, with adjustments for altitude and locally available products. The list grew to over two hundred recipes, with housewives and restaurateurs alike giving input. Some of the difficult recipes took dozens of experiments to perfect, but there was no shortage of willing students to show up after school to help test them. The first Betty Crocker cookbook contained many of those original recipes, and never acknowledged the source. Typically, my mother said that the recipes had never been for sale, and if the book allowed more people use of them, then that was a wonderful thing.
-Not everything in their lives was perfect, however. In five years, my mother had four miscarriages. One child was born much too premature, but lived for several days. Doctors suggested that she have her tubes tied, but my father was reluctant to give up if her health was not too much at risk. My mother wanted badly to give him a child, so, as usual, she endured, until when she finally had my sister, she could not take the babe into her arms. She was certain the child would die and could not bear the attachment for days. But my sister was born with a steely will, and would not be denied.
-When mother's youngest brother was having difficulty in school, my parents took him in. When her sister went into a clinic for TB, my mother went after her children. When my father's nephew was out of control, my father put him to work away from the city, and he reformed. There was no debate, to hear my father tell it. "That's what families do, she said. So we did it."
-There was sacrifice involved though. My father, having buried his own child, became very attached to his little nephews after caring for them over long periods of their childhoods. When their mother was judged able by those who had no business judging, the children were taken from my parents for the third time and sent to be with their own mother who, as it turns out, was not aware and nowhere near ready. My father, traumatized by the children's broken hearts, waited until they had left the house, then tearfully asked my mother to "never put us through this again!" One poor little guy had run back into the house to say goodbye to the dog, overheard the end of the conversation, and spent the rest of his childhood believing that his cherished uncle didn't want or care for him.
-Family was also responsible for the next big change of direction in my mother's life. Her parents were in trouble. Her mother was sick, and her father's trading post was about to fail. She was convinced that the business was viable, and her mother needed rest more than medicine, so they left their stable careers with retirements, and they went into partnership with her parents. The infusion of cash and labor immediately made the trading post profitable. The Navajos trusted the new management, and Dad's railroad connections hired hundreds of men for the traveling labor pools, creating a new economy curious about the health and home knowledge that Mom was eager to share.
-They lost another child while at the trading post. Carried full term, the baby died after two months and was buried a short distance from the trading post. They suffered another blow when my grandfather, jealous of my father's success, emptied the business coffers and bought cattle from his brother in Mexico. Another dream buried, my parents left the trading post, choosing to move into the city where better schools might be available for my sister and me.
-My father sold on the road. My mother stayed home until I was in school, then started substitute teaching. She developed a system allowing teachers to better communicate their lesson plans to subs. Unlike most teachers, she loved it. She said it gave her a chance to connect with a diversity of kids.
-When it became clear that my sister and I would benefit from private schools, there was no hesitation to change course again. My mother started working nights for more money at the Job Corps, a program for underprivileged young adults offering basic skills training to help integrate them into the work force. She was a residential aide and counselor to girls, many of whom came from horrific backgrounds. She believed in the goals of the program, but was saddened at the budget constraints and mismanagement that strangled it. Our home became a safe haven where many Job Corps kids spent a peaceful night. Mom regrets the time she missed with her own teen children, but feels she made a difference in a number of young lives, and wishes she might have influenced more.
-That was the era when my sister made her cutting comment. That was the time during which I was unaware of the sacrifices my parents were making so that my sister and I could have our unencumbered dreams.
-My mother called recently, and I asked if she remembered the day she'd cried and where she'd gone and what she'd thought. Yes, she remembered. She had just driven the old Mercury around the block, not wanting to waste fuel on a sulk. She told me that she was angry, at first. After all, she had achieved every milestone she set for herself in her childhood. She made it through girls school, college, married and loved a wonderful man, and had two smart independent kids. True, she had worked hard for noble causes without measurable goals only to be redirected time after time by more important priorities, seemingly unable to bring them to completion (if that were even possible). Then she tried to remember the other youthful dreams, the goals my sister was sure had slipped away, and she couldn't! There weren't any! She had never pondered writing a list of the deeds she'd wish to complete. She'd only hoped to make her own way and help others do the same, and she'd done that! She had never considered that her life would be any more grandiose or accomplished than it had been. The early milestones were just merit badges marking the enabling of this very life she'd chosen to lead. She was living her dream, had never abandoned it in spite of the hardships and setbacks, and she intended to finish the same way she started, doing what she could for as long as she was able. If my sister imagined a better life for herself, set more defined goals, and pursued them, then as a parent she could ask no more.
-I remember my mom came home and refused to argue further with my sister, who still had plenty of fight. She had smiled and refolded the laundry I'd messed up. My sister apologized later, and actually grew out of her hormonal rage into a fairly civil human being.
-I asked Mom if she ever grew tired of nurturing, beating her lonely fifty-year-old son to the first call on Christmas day when people at home were waiting on her to start holiday dinner.
-"Now that", she said, "is a job that's never finished!"

Submitted to the second anniversary edition writing contest (Congrats!) at 'Scribbit' -