Thursday, May 14, 2009
I Left My Hat in Pennsylvania
Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco but I left my hat in Pennsylvania yesterday.
Yesterday Bill and I left early from our home near Milton, Delaware for the 2 ½ drive to Pennsylvania. The skies were clear and the sun shone brightly as we shot up Route 1 towards Rt. 896 for Newark, Delaware. Yesterday was one of those rare sunny days sandwiched in between the rain and cloudy skies this spring. We enjoyed viewing all the greenery on our way up to Pennsylvania. It was a lovely trip on a beautiful spring day. We couldn't have asked for a better day to make a trip.
My Mom and brother weren’t home when I first arrived at their house on Hopewell. They arrived as I was taking pictures of their house of all the fresh new green growth around their snug little ranch house. My brother drove up in his new red Toyota RAV with our Mom in the passenger seat. I go to help her out. She doesn’t want my help. Uh oh, she’s upset about something. She’s got something worked up in her mind that she’s mad at me. I’m not sure if it is our differing political views (she and my brother only watch Fox News and believe everything they see and hear on that faux news channel, including that Nancy Pelosi is the devil incarnate) or she’s mad because I didn’t visit her on Mother’s Day. Last year she was mad because I forgot to send her a Mother’s Day card. I made up for that this year, I sent her three cards over a period of a month prior to Mother’s Day. She didn't say anything about receiving any of them.
We all go down to the house. I try to make small talk. She is having none of it. She obviously has herself worked up into a state. Now here is the problem, this isn’t the Mother I’ve known for my 67 years. This is someone different. Yes, she is in pain daily from her 86 year old body. She recently developed Type 2 diabetes. She is on a restricted diet. She says her food has no taste these days. She has a balance problem. And, most of all, she still misses my father who died in August of 2000. She’s never been the same since he died. They were joined at the hip. When he died, much of her whole sense of purpose of living was gone. My Mother gets very depressed. She is depressed most of the time. Each time I see her it is harder and harder to bring her out of her depression.
Before I left I wanted to take some pictures of us outside in the beautiful spring day sunlight. My brother has two chairs in the driveway. My Mother has always liked to sit outside with someone and her cats. They used to have the chairs up in the garden but now I see they’re in the driveway. Maybe she wants to see the cars going by on the road or maybe she wants to see who is driving up the driveway. She likes to watch from a distance but would never go to a senior citizen center or anything like that for activity. Sitting in the chairs probably brings back memories of all the years she and my Pop used to sit in the same chairs near their garden at the end of a long day. The garden is no longer there now since my Father has died. It is an overgrown weed patch. There is nothing to see up there now.
My younger brother lives with and takes care of our Mother. She has an open invitation to live with me and also with my other brother in South Carolina. She can split the time between the three of us. But, she prefers to stay at her home of 50 years. My brothers and I have acceded to her wish as long as she can get around. Plus, she wants to be near her two cats, Molly and Rusty. She has always used the excuse of caring for her cats as a reason why she couldn’t move to my brother’s place in South Carolina. Both cats are older now (I think 16 years old.) Rusty isn’t doing well and may not be with us much longer. Molly is as fat and contented as ever and continues to act as a bed buddy for my Mom. Molly gives her a great deal of contentment and we don’t want to separate Mom from "Miss Martha", as she calls her longtime feline friend.
When it came time for me to leave, it was awkward. She told me that she didn’t think she would be around “too much longer.” She’s said this before. I’ve told her that we’re all going to die, we just don’t know when. I don’t know what else to say to her.
I drove away feeling guilty as usual. I picked Bill at the end of Hopewell Road. While I was visiting my Mother he was taking videos of the road we used to live on. Bill never wanted to move from Pennsylvania. He always gets very sad when he revisits the heavily wooded area were we used to live. He loves the hills and the winding roads. None of which we have in Delaware. All we have down here is open flat land with perfectly straight roads and a lot of wind. He's not happy living in Delaware and visiting Pennsylvania only reemphasises that feeling to him. I know I'm going to hear about that all the way back to Delaware. But, he's got a video now that he can watch. I promised him I would buy our old property back when I win the Powerball lottery. That hasn't happened yet but I'm way overdue. Any day now.
About an hour later we stopped for gas. I looked for my Colorado Rockies (CR) black hat with purple lettering. I didn’t have it. There you have it; I was so upset that I “left my hat in Pennsylvania.” When I got home to Delaware I called my Mother to confirm that I did leave my hat. She said I did. She said she would put it on my father’s bed and I could get it the next time I’m up. That will be in June. I will be attending the Downingtown High School Class of 2009 graduation ceremonies as a special guest because my DHS class of 1959 is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
My next trip I’ll stay at least two days. This running up and back in the same day is a killer for me and Bill and I don’t have enough time to spend with my Mom. I’m hoping my next visit will better and the Mom I used to know returns. I miss her. I miss that hat too, it was my favorite. I won't forget it the next time.