My chickens are uninspiring right now. There’s nothing exciting to report on the vermin or predator scene, the girls aren’t talking a lot in this heat, and other than Bossy molting again, (which she tends to do every summer), everyone is healthy.

So until something kicks up the wattage in the chicken yard I want to cluck a bit about my mom.

Back in the day, there was no project too big or daunting for my mom. She could sew the most complicated projects, out-bake her friend Beverly, who had a cooking show on TV and could organize anything. Two of Mom’s sewing projects that earned her respect were, making a man’s tailored suit for Dad and creating my sister and me a complete Barbie and Ken wardrobe, teeny buttons, pockets and zippers included. (We won’t talk about the lime green leisure suit she made Dad in the 80’s.) Her biggest cooking triumph was figuring out Beverly’s hedgehog cake recipe. Mom was so proud of that cake, she made one for Beverly and gleefully delivered it to her door.

Our house was attractively decorated and always in tip-top, ready-for-company shape. She volunteered at the church, ran the garden club, nurtured my sister and me and still had time to play golf and go out dancing with Dad. I find myself as an adult now, trying to keep my life sorted and I can’t fathom how she managed to do everything she did.

Recently my mom passed, which was bittersweet because she suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years and had been receding, bit by bit away from us. She went through many phases of disappearance until she became a shadow of herself. In the end, she didn’t look the same, act the same and she couldn’t remember or articulate anything. Finally, death happened, just as the doctor had described to us long before-  she aspirated some food, which caused the pneumonia that ultimately took her. When she crossed over, I was relieved she was through suffering and I am finally able to mourn the last vestige of her- her body.

I no longer have a tangible, physical mom. Oh, I still hear her words as her favorite expressions fall out of my mouth. Mom was never big into cussing and most of her frustrations were expressed with- darn, shoot and the like. Words that pop out of me on a rare occasion when I’m aggravated are “criminnitlies” or” jezelpetes”. I have no idea where these words came from. She probably made them up. Then there’s- “bleeding like a stuck pig”, “sweating like a pig” and “madder than a wet hen”. When my sister and I were having trouble eating something like, say, liver and onions, she’d ask if we wanted to be a member of the clean plate club or she’d remind us of the starving children in China. I would ask if we could box my food up and ship it to China, which she always poo-pooed.

I have three wonderful, unique daughters, who in this time of loss stood by me, loved me and showed me their support. Mom’s spirit lives on in each one of us.

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