I took lunch to my mom today, as usual. I’m part of an unofficial committee with my siblings, sharing the various chores such as lunches, laundry, and more.
She asks how we’re doing, if Erika is working hard, how is the dog.
I don’t go into a lot of detail. I said Sam was okay, even though, truth to tell, I’m worried.
Sam has been scratching incessantly at her lump. It’s bigger all the time. We worry about her.
But she does seem to be in good spirits. A dog doesn’t know that it’s supposed to run slowly because of a humidex of 39. A dog doesn’t know she’s supposed to run slowly because of her lump or her advanced age. She may be over 14 but she often acts like a puppy. Strange dogs or delivery persons elicit an explosion of barking. Otherwise she’ll just lie there.
Today after lunch my mom & I were chatting about someone named Pongor Barna. My mom told me that he was a school-mate of my father when they were both studying to be engineers in Hungary. Yes that’s a long time ago. Where my mom had her hundredth birthday as of July, my father (who passed away in 1960) and his school colleague would have been older still.
My dad was born in 1917.
My mom was remembering when Pongor Barna came to visit the family (which didn’t include me, as I wasn’t born yet). I understand that we lived on Humewood Avenue. It’s the “we” that I speak of as a member of the family collective. But at this time I was still floating around in the cloud of unborn kids waiting to arrive.
When I looked it up on Google, I was surprised to discover that my family was living in the vicinity of my current church, namely Hillcrest. It’s one of those coincidences that makes me feel as though I’m in the right place. They say there are no real coincidences.
My mom then shifted gears to read some recent rhymes.
This one was delivered ruefully. I think she meant it as a true confession.
I always eat my lunch too late
Maybe that’s why I’m gaining weight
She then told me that “This one is called <Hummingbird>”
You’re as big as my coffee spoon
You return every spring in early June
The buds will suddenly burst into bloom
You will be visiting each of them soon
Hummingbird hummingbird hum me a tune
It won’t be as loud as a morning loon.
And then she asked me if I knew what a loon sounds like. I said of course, we used to hear them up at the cottage.
But I realized, hm, perhaps not the cottages I went to with my mom as a child. She and her second husband (my step-father) had a cottage for awhile up at Deanlea Beach, on Georgian Bay. Perhaps the youthful rascals dashing down to the water aka me and my siblings, wouldn’t be expected to notice the subtle beauty of loons in the rush to the beach.
We were a bit loony ourselves.
She read another poem, in a tone of discomfort.
I did not sleep all night
I got up by the morning light
They tell me “try it at daylight
Because there is no wrong or right”
Now this I cannot fight
Never slept at daylight
Never tried it: but I might.
She paused for dramatic effect. Sometimes she tells me of her difficulties sleeping. I guess this poem is about that debriefing process. We’re always asking “how did you sleep”?
She went on to the next one, delivered with more of a twinkle in her eye, to suggest something ironic, more playful.
I came here with my singing band
They bring their trusted reverend
Who promised them The Promised Land
Where they hope their tour may end.
But Trusted Reverend this is not the promised land…
Nothing here but shifting sand.
Seems our journey still won’t end,
Looking for the promised land.