By: Wayne Brown
I have just been sitting here staring out mama's window. I came home for a long weekend to celebrate mom's 82nd birthday and to take her to a family reunion. It's just me and her for this trip. Dad died two years ago and mom lives alone in the house. She and dad were married for 61 years. When he passed, a part of her passed too. Still, she picked up the torch and carried on with the same courage and determination that she has shown to me all her life. These thoughts cross my mind as I gaze from mama’s window.
Mom did a lot more than just bring me into this world. She spent all of her life raising me even after I left home she just kept on raising me, my brother and my sister. That's just the way she is and the way she always will be. I don't have a problem with it. She probably saved me from some worse fate by raising me for so long. She gave me my sense of humor, my quick wit, and my common sense ability to see things for what they really are most of the time. Most importantly, she taught me how to laugh at myself. I'd say that's a lot of gifts for one little boy, wouldn't you? I can never stand here gazing out of mama’s window without thinking of those wonderful gifts.
Mom and I can sit and talk one on one for long periods. She always has a tale to share; some information that I have not yet acquired. Sometimes we visit cemeteries together and she walks me from grave to grave telling stories and painting pictures of the people there. I have learned a lot just listening to mama. When I headed off to college, she made me take the time to learn how to iron clothes, make tuna fish salad, and sweet ice tea. She always told me that no one could hold me hostage if knew how to do those things. She was right too!
When I visit her, I like to look out the window when things get quiet and she goes off to tend her chores. Just looking outside into the yard starts my mental juices flowing. I can see the pack of little boys running loose out through the yard on those hot summer days. No shirts, a pair of ragged jeans or shorts, tanned to the nth degree on all our exposed skin, each and every one. We played outside from early morning to sunset and after. The outside world was our sanctuary, our home, our place where we could pretend. It was the schoolhouse of our imagination visible there to me now outside of mama’s window.
We reinvented ourselves everyday turning into football stars, baseball sluggers, or our favorite television adventure character like Superman or Flash Gordon. We rode the prairies and chased the outlaws on our bean-stick ponies that we reined with shoe laces. We were the fastest guns in the West sporting names like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Lash LaRue, and Johnny Ringo. We ordered the same cap-gun western pistols for Christmas year after year until we were old enough to ride bicycles and our interest changed. All those things played out there on the lawn just outside mama’s window.
At times, I can see my dad standing out there in the yard. He sometimes, in his own solitude, just stood in one spot in the yard and gazed into the sky. I often wondered what he was thinking about during those times but I never asked him. Those thoughts were his and I did not want to pry. Maybe his imagination was at work as well. Perhaps he was thinking about avenues that his life could have followed; adventures that he could have had over the course of his life. Maybe he was just admiring the beauty of the world as he stood there gazing just outside of mama’s window.
The years, my experiences, my travels, have all molded and changed me over time. Much of it has been for the better. None of it has ever taken away anything that mama gave me. I have remained true to her words and they have served me well in most every situation that I have encountered. Mom has always been there like a lighthouse beacon on a distant shore. Like that beacon, she is always there no matter the seas or the weather. She is always there helping to guide me through the storms and safely back to the harbor. Standing here looking out mama’s window, I realize how wonderful that makes me feel and what a special mom I have had all these years. That realization is crystal clear to me as I gaze out mama’s window.
Time will pass and mom will not be here someday, at least not in a physical sense. I know that. She will go to be with my dad. But even then, she will live on in my heart. Her words will never leave me just as her mother’s words remained with her throughout her life. I also know that one day someone else will stand at this window just as I do today. I hope they will be able to look out and see the wonderful memories from their life as I can see mine today. As for me, in my mind, I will always have this window to look out. The view and the emotion forever reside in my consciousness. I will always be able to come here to this spot and gaze out on the beauty and see the memories just outside mama’s window.
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