Please Don't Do That

My sister and I are very, very appreciative of how many people came out last night and today, either because you knew and remember our mom, or if you didn’t, just as a show of support to Pam and myself. I just wanted to talk briefly about the stuff that made us laugh when it came to our mom, especially the last few years. Anything I’m going to say, she laughed at too. She had a great sense of self-deprecation; I don’t remember that as especially being a part of my dad’s personality, but both my sister and I share in it, so it probably came from our mom. She was an adventure-and-a-half in the car--without doubt, the world’s worst front- seat passenger, something that first our dad and then both of us had to contend with. It would have been hugely entertaining to be a fly on the wall when I was driving my mom around town. She had this thing where under almost any kind of a pretext, she’d grab at the door. I’d go into a left turn, not a car in sight, and she’d grab at the door. Continuing to look straight ahead, I’d quietly but sternly say “Please don’t do that.” We’d go a little farther, and then, spotting a car half a mile down the road pulling out of a parking lot, she’d grab at the door. “Please don’t do that.” I’d ad- just the mirror, she’d grab at the door. “Please don’t do that.” Sometimes I’d make her agree to place her purse on her lap, clasp her hands together, and place her hands on the purse. Mostly that worked, but now and again she’d spot something up ahead and, without unclasping, she’d still manage to grab at the door. Pam also wanted me to men- tion my mom’s signature goodbye whenever we left her apartment: “Drive carefully” for both of us, with a “Be careful in the parking lot” appended for my sister. One of the last ten or so times I talked to my mom on the phone, she finished the call by saying “Drive carefully.” I was standing in the kitchen at the was a little weird. I think in large part because she watched so much CNN, this state of panic often extended to the world at large. I was always trying to explain to her that she didn’t need to spend so much time worrying about tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, epidemics, droughts, food poisoning, Al-Qaeda, meteors, serial killers, locusts, and Republicans. These things were real, I assured her, but she was probably pretty safe at 8 Durham St. in Georgetown. She worried anyway, and we all laughed about it. Obviously I owe my mom everything, but more specifically, while my love of baseball and sports came from my dad, my interest in news and politics came from my mom; my love of film came from both my parents, but especially my mom. At a young age, they intro- duced me to great films like The Manchurian Candidate, and The Hustler, and To Sir with Love, and even Midnight Cowboy. My mom would sometimes say her favourite film was Laura, and sometimes she’d say All About Eve. I asked her towards the end which was her abso- lute favourite, and after thinking about it for a few seconds, she said both. And then, I think, she went back to worrying about Al-Qadea. We’ll miss her very much.

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