Every October

October 19, 2010

It’s been my intention to try and add content to Chole’s Quilt that is not always about my mom. This effort seems to get defeated quite often though…just because whenever I experience anything that makes me recall my mom in a special way, my first instinct is to share it here.

And now that autumn has finally come to Dallas, I find myself thinking of her a lot. After I moved here, my mom would insist upon visiting me after the Texas-summer heat had subsided. I have lots of Dallas-happy memories with my parents.

My dad would always bring mom to Texas, and we would work on projects around the house while she relaxed, read a book, or took a nap (she started her Tarceva treatments soon after my move to Dallas which required her to take it easy).

But her treatments and our house projects did not prevent the three of us from finding some time to have a little of fun. We would go to restaurants, museums, the arboretum…and undoubtedly mom would find the energy to do a little Dallas shopping at Northpark.

I always knew that these were special visits. That one day, things would be different.

I will never forget an afternoon on the last day of one of these visits, a few hours before I would take my parents to DFW for their return flight to Fresno. My parents and I decided to walk to the Episcopal Church down the street that was selling pumpkins as a fundraiser. It was a beautiful day, and mom said that she would enjoy the walk. We each picked out a pumpkin and started the 10-minute walk back to the house. Half way there, the pumpkin got too heavy for my mom and she started to walk slower and fall behind me and my dad. I walked back to her and tried to take her pumpkin and she protested “no, I can do it, Howard”….of course, I took the pumpkin from her and she smiled and quietly walked back to the house with me.

The church down the street is selling pumpkins again. Nothing against, the Episcopalians, but I think I will buy one at the store this year. I want to keep my memory of that day as it is, fresh in my mind, with my mother in it, always. I know, it’s kind of weird, but I like to maintain certain things, and leave them “untouched”…these can be tangible things, a song on the radio, a rerun of “NCIS” or just fond memories that in some way belong to my mom in my mind. 

But of course and thankfully, life always moves forward.

My dad will be keeping up the tradition of the October visit next week – and we have a house project all lined up: vintage wallpaper in the guest bathroom. This seemed like a good idea at the time…but after purchasing the wallpaper online (non returnable), I became aware that wallpaper from the 1940’s does not come pre-pasted OR pre-trimmed. Thankfully, dad will be here to get me through this. I’ll post before/after pics when we’re done.

I started prepping the guest bathroom for the “redo” last weekend and went through the small linen closet in the dressing area. Some of mom’s things that she would leave behind for use during her visits are still in there. It’s just some lotion and hair products.  I cleaned a lot of stuff out of that linen closet last weekend…but mom’s things will stay on the shelf, just a while longer.

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2 Responses to “Every October”

  1. Mague Says:

    Thanks for sharing the memories! Nice house too.

  2. Lydia Avina-Drayer Says:

    I like when you share memories, Howard. From your perspective they are “mom” memories but from my vantage point they are “Howard, Chole and Howard” memories. Some I remember from Chole’s animated phone calls, and some are new, like this one about the pumpkins. Like you, I cherish Chole memories and mementos. In the morning, if there’s something daunting on my schedule, I carefully pick out some sparkly Chole jewelry to get me through the day. This morning, since the weather had turned chilly, I dug deep in my sock drawer for socks I hadn’t pulled out since last winter. It gave me a chuckle to find wacky pairs your mom gave me. I have a bright-pink-with-polka-dots pair on now. I’m keeping some sock pairs unworn though, because having them “untouched” will keep more than my feet warm for years to come. Good luck with the wallpaper!


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