Archive for July, 2013

Traveling with My Sainted Mother

At 85, it’s getting harder to get Mother out of the house without curb-to-curb service.  She’s pretty spry, but I am learning that as we get older, the specter of a fall  is never too far.

I like to stop at Banning on the way from California to Arizona to get something at Starbucks.  I think that store is one of my favorites in the chain; the space is inviting and the baristas aren’t texting like they do in LA.

This is true, if you can make it into the store, which is ‘guarded’ by a sloping curb that runs from the handicap parking to the back door.  Stepping up to the back door is easy if you know what foot will hit the edge of the curb first, as the height for each foot will be different.  Add to that the sprinkler runoff from the manicured landscaping and the motor oil from the adjacent parking space and you have a brew for a possible disaster.

I let go of Mother for an instant to open the door for her – turned around to help her up the curb just in time to see her hurling toward me like Supergirl.  She hit the curb with her shins before I could do anything about it.

She recounts the incident as an aside at a breakfast chat during a week that I spent introducing her to Arizona country living:

Drinks Taste Better When They Are Complimentary (I Reckon)

I guess she was lucky to end up with skinned knees and some lost pride.  Starbucks was magnanimous and sent mother 5 coupons for complimentary beverages to assuage any lingering misgivings that she may have had about returning, which were enough to treat her family — if she didn’t get a drink for herself.

For the rest of the visit, she preferred to have me make her tea at home.


It wasn’t all skinned shins and tea.  Mother found time to play with the dog:

and to do her imitation of Debbie Reynolds‘ role with Albert Brooks in the 1996 feature film, Mother.


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“Sheriff John” Rovick (1919 – 2012)

“Sheriff John” Rovick (1919-2012)

I wasn’t aware that my late father and “Sheriff John” Rovick were friends until years after Dad’s hunting accident, which claimed his right eye and probably contributed to his early death at the age of 53.  Sheriff John hosted a noontime show for children during the ‘golden age’ of television — ask any Baby Boomer from Los Angeles!  I found out after-the-fact that  Sheriff John was with my dad on a duck-hunting trip when a load of buckshot shot by a careless hunter from a nearby hunting party peppered my dad in the face and chest with a careless and errant blast.

Dad never really recovered.  One day, in a youthful, innocent and somewhat obtuse way, I mused with my father,

“Gee, Daddy, Just think: if you had moved one step to the left, you may not have lost your eye!”

Without a beat of hesitation, he looked down at me with a mixture of impatience and love and said,

“And if I had moved one step to the right, I might have lost both of them!”

Independently, my brother and I loved Sheriff John (it seemed) almost as much as our Dad — or maybe even more, if you believe the story that my mother recently told me:

Mother’s Recapitulation

I continue to be surprised and thrilled that my mother lets me record her memories.  At 86, she tells me she is no longer concerned about how she looks in front of a camera.  I think that I will try to break out the camera with her more often.

If I tried, I could easily think myself into sadness when I consider that there are only so many of her stories that I may yet hear, but instead, I will just follow Sheriff John’s musical credo, which is “laugh, and be happy.”

RIP John Rovick

I found this tribute to Sheriff John.  You might enjoy it.

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