I was on vacation this week and purposefully took a break from my mother. We didn’t get together this past Tuesday, but guilt got the better of me and I picked her up Friday night for an evening out. I figured she could use an airing from being in the nursing home all week.
She reminded me that her wedding anniversary was coming up (May 31st) and told me, “You don’t have to take me out to dinner if you don’t want to.” When my father died suddenly in 1998, I stopped counting their wedding anniversary because it’s not like he’s here to celebrate it anymore. Why must I be so practical?
When I picked her up, she surprisingly had three choices to provide for restaurants she might like to visit for dinner: Pub 99, Barbers Crossing in Sterling or The Webster House. Considering we hadn’t been to The Webster House in quite sometime, I decided this was the best choice.
When we arrived around 8pm, the parking lot was pretty lean and I was happily able to get the closest handicap parking spot right near the door. I was very pleased. When we were seated, I noticed there was a man over in the corner near our booth playing an acoustic set. My mother’s back was to him so she couldn’t see him. As he was singing “Starry, Starry Night“, my mother leaned forward and asked me, “Is he gay? He sounds gay.” Unbelievable. I don’t quite know how a man singing could register on my mother’s gaydar, but there was the question.
He continued to sing and during a particular high warble my mother again leaned forward and said to me, “He sounds like a cat in heat.” Oh, dear. I was mortified that she said it so loudly, but more so because the woman sitting at the booth next to us obviously knew the singer and was enjoying the show. I hoped she hadn’t heard my mother. If she had heard her, she had enough tact to ignore us and not be openly offended by my mother’s proclamation.
I tried to engage my mother in light conversation so she wouldn’t focus on the singer, but eventually nothing I was saying mattered because the singer was now performing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” which is one of my mother’s favorite songs. “It doesn’t sound anything like him. Whose he kidding?” my mother blustered at me while sipping her coffee. “It’s not supposed to sound exact. It’s his interpretation of the song.” I countered. “Well, he sucks.” she replied matter-of-factly and there was nothing more for me to say.
The singer ended his set, walked over to hug a warm hello to the lady sitting in the next booth and I managed to make warm eye contact with him saying, “Very nice set.” My mother just glared at me.
And this little experience at The Webster House is why taking my mother out of the nursing home oftentimes turns into an occasion that I need a break from. Too bad vacations are so infrequent.