Post by Randee Bergen (www.randeebergen.wordpress.com)
My mom came to town last weekend for a quick visit, arriving on Friday afternoon and leaving early Sunday morning. She’s 71, but she’s a Wyoming girl. It’s no big deal for her to drive seven hours to get somewhere and then, two days later, drive those seven hours back.
She knew before she came that she’d be plopped right into the middle of our lives—the first week of school, shopping at the mall, senior pictures, the peach festival, another round of senior pictures, and preparation for the Decades Dance at the high school. But she didn’t mind; she’s been a mother and now a grandmother. She knows what life is like.
Despite the busy two days of her visit, she and I did make time for a couple of games of Scrabble. We always do. We’ve been playing Scrabble together since I was a teenager. I recall hot summer days in Wyoming. My mom would work all day grooming dogs—putting me through college—at her dog kennel business, which was about 100 yards away from our farm-house. She’d come in, hot and worn out and itchy with stray dog hairs. I’d set up the board while she made the gin and tonics. Sometimes we’d wait to play until after dinner and when one of us studied the board for more than even a few minutes, the other would get up and wash a few dishes. It was a good way to get the kitchen cleaned up and let the evening wind down.
No one else in the family played. Just my mommy and me. We talked, of course. Important lessons were learned at the board. And they weren’t just about words and how to add up the score. We could also sit for stretches in silence, arranging and rearranging the tiles on our trays, straightening the words to help us think.
It’s a Friday when my mom arrives. I’m exhausted from the first week of school. She’s tired from the drive. So, I get the box down from its shelf. It’s dusty, having not been used since the last time she came to town. I pour a glass of sweet Riesling for my mom, a slightly less sweet red of some sort over ice for myself. We settle in.
My daughters hustle about the house in a flurry of getting ready for the dance and senior pictures. “Where is the fat curling iron, mom? Do we have another can of hairspray?” “Can you guys look at my outfits? Help me decide what to wear tomorrow? I’ll model them for you.”
Meanwhile, the dog keeps dropping his soggy froggy in my mom's lap, wanting her to throw it, once again, through the window between the kitchen and the living room. Our Scrabble game is the eye of the hurricane, still and peaceful, commotion and excitement swirling around us.