Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mom's Saturday

Mom spent a good part of her Saturday standing at the kitchen bar, watching me carve the three small pumpkins, and occasionally reading a news magazine or catalog. In the middle of the afternoon, Dad and I took Mom out for a walk at Fort Hunt Park; the weather was fairly warm and humid and occasionally breezy, so we bundled Mom up against the wind.

The walking route we took was a bit different this time, and totaled about 640 yards instead of 680. Unlike what happened during her previous walk (the hilly one at Riverside Park), Mom's pace was steady and surprisingly fast, and her grip on my hand was firm-- no shaking or trembling. When she got home, she tackled the five steps up our deck with surprising strength, needing very little help from Dad. Where did this vigor come from?

She hadn't wanted to go walking at first. Dad surmised that Mom's reluctance had to do with her fascination with the pumpkin-carving I'd been doing. He was probably right; we had originally wanted Mom to go walking alone with Dad while I finished the pumpkins, but it wasn't until I stopped carving, and asked Mom if all three of us should go to the park, that she agreed to do some exercise.

When we got back home from the walk, Mom resumed her position at the bar and continued watching me work. Dad, meanwhile, prepped the Halloween candies for all the trick-or-treaters, and set up the pumpkin display. He put out the two "parent" pumpkins first; when I finished the laughing pumpkin that represented David, Dad placed that one outside and lit the little votive candles. I completed the fanged, head-biting pumpkin next, then finished with the screaming pumpkin. Mom didn't want to go outside to see what the final display looked like, so I took some pictures on my digicam and showed them to her. The picture I ended up blogging, however, was taken by Dad on his far superior digicam, which handles nighttime shots a lot better than mine. (Note: avoid Olympus; buy Sony.)

Dinner was Papa John's pizza. Mom had seen the coupon sitting on the bar, and Dad had hinted that he had a hankering for pizza, so around 6PM, Dad ordered carry-out and drove off to get the 'zza. While Dad was gone, two groups of children came by to ask for candy. They were tiny and cute, and far too young to appreciate my pumpkin art, alas.

Dad came back fairly quickly with the pizza. Bizarrely, Mom didn't eat her slices, preferring instead a bowl of that super-proteinated soup I'd made for her. She didn't seem all that hungry, which I felt was a good thing: she needs to eat less in the evening, anyway. But I still had to wonder why she had seemed so interested in the Papa John's coupon.

We didn't have too many trick-or-treaters. When the first group arrived and knocked on our door, Mom jumped. The sudden appearance of guests still surprises her, and she still needs time to ready herself. I reminded Mom that it was Halloween, and that we'd be hearing from lots of munchkins. "Oh, yeah," she whispered, nodding. But only a few groups of munchkins showed up in the darkness and rain.

Because the head-munching pumpkin had a wide-open maw, the candle inside its mouth kept blowing out in the evening breeze. We didn't have any tiny, battery-operated lights, so I went to the local Home Depot and bought a mini-maglite, one of those tiny flashlights that can hang off a key chain. When I got back home, I bored a hole in the back of the pumpkin, and placed the light inside it. Perfect. Solved all my problems. (Dad's picture was taken when the pumpkin still had a candle inside it.)

While I was away on my hardware store errand, Mom ate her soup and watched Korean TV, happy as a clam. Later, she was tired enough to want to get to sleep early. I gave her her nightly hug. Tomorrow, thanks to the rollback of the hour to bring the US back to "standard time" as opposed to "daylight savings time," Mom will wake up at 10AM instead of 11AM. But right now, she's asleep. Another day with Mom gone. But happily, another day with Mom dawns.


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