(Click the pic for a larger view)

That’s today-clear, blue skies with an agreeable wind, enough to rustle the leaves but not your hair. It’s cool this morning, but the Florida sun will keep its promise to heat the afternoon hours. The birds are singing. It’s just a day to come and go, one of work, plans and maybe rest. I spot a shiny penny on the ground, pick it up and slip it into my pocket- that’s my custom. Maybe, I do this for luck, or to prove I’m paying attention, or maybe it reminds me of my mom’s words: waste not; want not. Thing is, ninety-eight years ago, October 12th, 1918, on a day that was much like today, normal, soft, promising, my mom was born.

Her Brazilian birth certificate became an issue for my mom when she was in her forties. She’d been born in Recife, Brazil, on a mission-think of a small  building with white, plastered walls, open, sparsely decorate halls with little furniture, and windows that were not covered but open to allow the cooling sea breeze to flow through the dwelling along with any number of flying bugs or crawling snakes. Her Baptist missionary parents had little money, just faith.

When the doctor arrived to deliver mom he came prepared to record by hand the entire event as a solemn witness to the authenticity of her birth. I’ve read the translation of this birth certificate, the one mom needed to show before she could become a teacher, something, I don’t quite remember-I was young, once. Anyway, the document started like this blog has, with a complete description of the day, the morning, the breeze, the temperature and the mood of the people who’d gathered to wait for my mom to arrive-even the birds were singing. The whole thing struck me when I first read the writing. To think, the kind of day it was, not just the date, time and sex mattered. No, first and foremost the doctor thought the day’s nature was important to note. I guess that’s being in touch with the environment and believing that it and everything else about the day a person was born mattered.

Now, I think it did. My mom was always like that day. Soft, mild, never a taker but giver, a person easy to see, to be around. Her company was a joyful gift.

Dad married a 'Looker.'

Dad married a ‘Looker.’

Her smile could shame the sun; her hair, naturally blonde until almost age fifty, glimmered in the sunlight and framed her laughing eyes.

Mom had an artist flair....a painter and musican-

Mom had an artistic flair….a painter and musician-

Mom with my brother and sister

Mom with my brother and sister

She had a special look.

She had a special look.

Of course, she was my bridge to life.

Of course, she was my bridge to life.

I knew i was in luck the day she brought me home.

I knew I was in luck the day she brought me home.

She made music like the birds, playing piano with a perfect pitch and had no need for musical notations; she sparked up every gathering by pumping her pearl overlaid accordion creating sounds that made even tired feet dance.

My mom was a miracle in so many ways. She went to college at fourteen here in the states and graduated campus queen at age eighteen. I’ve an early memory of stepping through the clover and receiving a bee sting on my bare foot. She sat me on top of the newfangled gadget-the washing machine- and that’s when I  blurted out, “Mom, you’re pretty.” How hard she laughed then. My friends had been talking; not only did my pals enjoy the freedom and food my house offered them as kids, they’d noticed her hair, too.

Mom's sister's and brother's all made it to America...

Mom’s sister’s and brother’s all made it to America…

They keep an affinity for the Ocean they once lived by as children in Brazil....Family reunions always involved water.

They kept an affinity for the ocean they once lived by as children in Brazil….Family reunions always involved water.

It's been wonderful to know mom's family...

It’s been wonderful to know mom’s family…

The good years pass like a morning does in a day. One day, not like today, I became a man who had to help my mom move beyond being old to more. That was a bitter day, now over six years ago. Still, as the cardinals flutter to our bird feeder and my dog jumps up one too many times, I’m forever thankful for that day of so long ago. The doctor was right about that day-it was a perfect day. Mom has been such a blessing in my life I couldn’t live long enough to write it all down so you would know.

Whether it’s the wind that comes and goes without warning or the geese that flew over head this morning in the early daylight, chattering from high above with a noise so uniquely theirs, I don’t know. But for this time, this day, it’s all about mom for me, and I wanted you to know. I did pick up that penny when she had me.

franque23

Mom, 1918-2011. Those were good years.

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