isn't she lovely?
i won't tell you how old she is today; my mother has always been very young at heart.
she's had an amazing life. she and i were talking the other day about how her life, in many ways, has come full circle. she comes from a farm working family and spent many of her teenage years working in the fields, migrating from south texas to new mexico, arizona, and california, and even some sojourns to the midwest. i grew up with her stories about working in the fields. about the snake that slithered across her feet when she was picking cotton in missouri. about the chicken coops they slep in while they worked in indiana. the cold mornings in new mexico. the cold and fog of watsonville picking apples. how she and her sisters would emerge covered in grape juice from working la gondola. then, of course, they would shower and be ready for their dances!
years later, settled in california, she would meet and marry my father, who also work in agriculture. he used the GI bill after returning from vietnam to pay for his college education, an education that affords him an office position. agricultural sales. as such, they travel together once a year or so to agricultural conferences. growers, brokers, salespeople, and their assistant instructors converge to rub elbows, make connections, talk shop, and so forth (i don't really know what goes on in these conferences; i've never been invited!).
anyway, i remember once my mom telling me about one of these conference she and my dad had gone to. i think it was in atlanta. they were having dinner in the ballroom of a hotel. she described how they were all seated for dinner, the lights dimmed, and that the tuxedoed wait staff emerged carrying silver platters. all at once they uncovered the platters to reveal the cuisine of the evening and began to serve the guests.
it was something else for my mother. she couldn't help but think, i used to work for these people. IN THE FIELDS. and now i'm sitting next to them having dinner at this elegant place.
i guess, at times, it's been a poor life. but i think that it's always--at some level--been rich.
happy birthday, mom. i love you!
(you know you secretly love that i write about you.)