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Monday, May 19, 2008

CULTURE/SOCIETY: My Mother Picks Up Hitch-Hikers

This is another piece that I was going to put up for Mother's Day, but my poopy-butt computer and internet service stopped me! Grrrr!

It's from the blog with the best title around, Raggedy Ann In A Barbie Doll World. - OlderMusicGeek

My mother picks up hitchhikers.

She believes that she has an obligation to be a good Samaritan. Once, when I was in high school, we picked up this old woman who looked a little blue around the lips and was having trouble breathing. Mom wanted to take her to the hospital, but the old lady insisted that she just wanted to go home.

It was dark, and we drove out of town and down into the woods. The lady didn't talk except to give us directions. Finally, after we turned off the main road and down into a thick copse of trees, even my unflappable mother was beginning to look a little nervous.

The lady asked my mom to stop the car and let her out. There wasn't a house- or even a light- in sight. We asked her if she was sure this was the right place. She said yes and got out of the car. We laughed nervously and drove away.

My mother makes adventures.

Mother's Day 2004, we spent the whole day seeking out “Rock House,” a natural bridge and historical site deep in Eastern Kentucky. We drove for hours, ate diner food, and discovered deserted little ghost towns full of sagging porches and family cemeteries. Amazingly, with no map and directions that included the phrase, “maybe,” entirely more than I was comfortable with, we found it. A biker gang was hanging out beneath the bridge, and my mother made friends with them.

We hiked to the top, and the view was breathtaking. It was worth the snakes and the lack of gas stations and the sunburn.

My mother is spontaneous.

She just called me this morning, high from her first time seeing the redwood forests. She was nearly weeping at their beauty.

Earlier this week, she got off work in Arizona, got in her car and drove 14 hours to San Andreas, CA. She's a travel nurse, and in Cali, it's easier to get a license in person than it is to get one by mail. She finished earlier than expected and got back into her car and drove another four hours to the national park. She lucked out and got a lodge room next to the waterfalls. She slept and then spent two glorious days hiking around the wilderness.

On the road back to Arizona, she called my father, who lives in Palm Springs, and invited him and his partner to have dinner with her. They agreed. Mom spent the night with them and then went back to Arizona, where she worked three nights in a row. She's getting ready to go to bed now, and I know she'll sleep well.

When I was younger, I resented my mother's spontaneity, her compassion, her adventurousness. It was a little like living with a really good thunderstorm. Exciting and beautiful, but often you were soaking wet and a little uncomfortable. My life was unplanned, and my social life suffered for it.

But look what I got in return! Ghost stories and wonder. I wouldn't trade them.

Last week, while my mom was hiking around the wilderness, I was working in the basement of a client's site. But in the evenings, I emerged blinking in the new spring sun, and explored the little town. I ate at local diners and walked around their lake. I read about the Indian Burial Mounds and explored the woods.

This is my mother's gift to me, and I am blessed every time I turn off of the paved road.

Written for LJ Idol

To read more about our trek to Rock House, go here.

A link to all my Mother's Day posts
A link to the original post in Raggedy Ann In A Barbie Doll World
A link to the actual blog, Raggedy Ann In A Barbie Doll World

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