Pine Nuts: A love story
She was a mountain woman, you might say. She drove an old Dodge truck, could chain it in a storm, and carried a .30-06 Springfield in the cab, along with a dog named Spud. She never wore makeup, nor did she have to, for she was just plain beautiful without it, though she never knew it.
She was always cheerful, helpful and kind. She never said an unkind word about anybody that I ever heard. I hadn’t seen her in three years and wondered if she had grayed any, as I had. I wondered if she would even recognize me as I had grown a beard – in a mid-life crisis – and let my hair grow long.
We were to meet at Hugo’s, now the Lone Eagle Grill, for lunch. I was nervous as a cat. Taking my time to get ready, I washed the truck, took a long shower, shampooed my hair and went searching for my whitest shirt. Upon final inspection in the mirror, I noticed my teeth were not as white as my shirt, and wondered if she would notice. I could always smile with my lips together.
Anxious as I was, I arrived 10 minutes early and got us a good seat. The waitress asked if I would like a drink and I thanked her. “No, I’m waiting for somebody special and I should wait for her.”
When half an hour had passed and still she had not arrived the waitress returned and asked if I had changed my mind.
“No, I’ll wait ’til you close if I have to, but I’ll wait. She’s worth it, you’ll see.”
When an hour had passed I began to get a little concerned. I thought about all the times I had spoken in a harsh voice to her, all the times I had turned a deaf ear to her, all the times I had ignored her warnings that I was leading too hard a life. She would just smile that sweet smile and shake her head. She knew how stubborn I was and that I loved her, even though I didn’t always show it.
I looked at my watch and the waitress came back a third time.
“She must really be something,” she said.
“She is … you’ll see.”
At that very moment she appeared in the doorway and I jumped to my feet to greet her. The waitress took one look at her and said, “You’re right, she is worth it.”
I made my way across the room, tipping over a chair as I went. Then I took her in my arms and held her. I could not think of anything to say, so I just uttered the first two words that came to me: “Hi, Mom.”
“Hi, Honey.” she said. “You look like Shirley Temple with a beard.”
It was the best Mother’s Day I ever had with her, and it was my last.
Revere your mom this Sunday, and give her a hug for me.
– Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.org.