|LtoR: Larry, Susan, Daddy w/mark, Mom w/ Jill, Lynda, Den|
I have before me an object that is locked up. I’ve never seen the inside of it, but, today, right now, in the present, forthwith I’m going to open the thing and we’ll all learn of its contents -- together. Is this not the best? No, I’m really asking.
What I’m getting ready to do is make Geraldo Rivera look, uh, pretty much like he does now. Of course before Geraldo opened Al Capone’s vault on live TV, he gave us about two hours of history. And this was before DVRs.
Fortunately, I’m not going to give quite as much background as Geraldo did. First thing I’m going to do is tell you that the object to be opened is one of Mom’s 16 diaries. One of the 16 that happens to be locked and has yet to be read. Mom kept diaries going back to 1988 and ending in the year she died, 2006.
Regrettably, she threw away several years of her diaries. She thought they were too boring. D’uh. Of course they’re boring. They’re like reading 5840 transcripts of phone conversations that start with the question, “Hey, Mom, tell me about your day.” But the entries were family history that ended up in a garbage can. Lost forever, remaining only in the memories of her six feeble minded kids. In other words, they’re lost forever.
Up to this very moment, we never read anything that Mom wrote about her thoughts, or her emotions. She didn’t like to share personal stuff. She was from Oklahoma.
The mystery is, why would Mom keep this particular diary locked up? Is this the one that’s actually interesting? Did Mom have a secret lover? Why did she buy those Compton Encyclopedias from that weird man? Does she reveal the secret that I had a twin brother that once dated Sinead O’Conner? Did our eldest brother, Larry, really play the part of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon?”
That could well be what we’re getting ready to discover. However, since time is short, I’m only going to allow us to read the entry from Thanksgiving of, uh, whatever year the diary says.
Oh, and there’s one other thing. Kay was the one who managed to unlock the diary for me. This girl has too many secrets. You can’t hide stuff from a YEGG. With that cleared up, let’s open this buddy now, forthwith. (I like that word.)
First off, the year is 1997. That’d be 17 years ago and Mom would’ve been 78. Thanksgiving in 1997 fell on the 27th. Isn’t this exciting? No, I’m asking. – Here are the secrets recorded at the end of that mysterious day.
“Thursday. Read Bible – Leviticus 3-6.” -- Oh, my word. What a way to start the day. I believe Moses even slept through most of it. ‘If your neighbor injures the left rear leg of your ox, he must give up four of his own oxen, as well as two donkeys and his left sandal.’ Let me tell you, Jesus made things just a whole lot simpler. But then I digress.
Back to Elsie: “Larry came over for breakfast and we all visited. Larry and Jill and Mark went to visit Lynda.” -- Our oldest sister was in a place for Alzheimer patients at the time, and likely remembered nothing about Thanksgiving. Among my saddest moments in life were the times I visited my dear sister at “the home.” More digressing.
Elsie: “I made three pans of rolls, one loaf of bread and chicken and dumplings. Kay made the dressing. We loaded up and went to Jill’s. Al brought a ham and fried a turkey. Good food, a good time and…” -- Wait just a minute. Al fried a turkey? That’s it. That’s all she writes?
I’ll have you know that Big Al dropped an almost thawed turkey into a vat of boiling peanut oil and came close to sending us all to the Galveston Burn Center. Oil on my tennies, my shirt, pants, and a place on my arm that just recently started growing hair. “Al fried a turkey?” Fried himself and two brothers is more like it. -- Sorry. Back to Elsie.
“We had lots of good food and a nice time. Watched some of our old (family) videos.” – That refers to the times we taped our talent shows and Holiday football games. Poor quality, but just a gas to watch. – “The boys went to play football. I went home. Cleaned the pots and pans and the kitchen. So tired. Larry called. I ate a peace of chocolate pie and turkey on a roll. Went to bed at 12. Got up at 5:45.”
That’s it. Now that was… something. Something that has made me develop empathy for Geraldo. Of course, there could well be secrets mentioned in her May entries. Maybe February. Her birthday was in February.
If not, then we still have one big mystery before us. – Why did Mom put these entries in a locked book? And, where is the key? – And, who cares? -- No one. No one except her kids. The ones who loved the daylights out of her. -- Thanks for staying with me this far. Sorry for the letdown. I honestly had no idea what was written here before opening it. I opened it forthwith. I like that word.
BTW: Since Al was not born when the above photo was shot, I've included the oldest picture I've got of him, taken back when we lived in Moscow.