Happy Birthday Mom: 3 Short Stories

To my Mom…

Hello, Mom /Floy Dean – 

Leah Dean is well and full of life and fire like you are. Her hair is always in what she calls a “pony” and I call an “evil bun”. 

She tells me her hair is not my business. Like you used to say. 

But it is, and you both need to accept it. (please). 

The Goddess book is doing well. And by doing well, I mean it sold beyond my friends and few family members who were offended. (I knew you’d like that). 

It’s quite literally a best seller. To me.

I could buy and read the book anew each day. 

I know you think the Goddess is about you. And the Daughter too. Lol. I’ll never tell! Just enjoy it, them, all of it. There are clues all throughout the book. Let me know when you find them. 

I’m looking forward to winter and getting cold and never turning heater on. Leah too. 

I drink too much coffee ☕️ so, it’s your fault. And thank you, because coffee is magic. 

Ok, talk to you soon. Let your hair down. Buns are out of style. For real. 

Happy Birthday!

Me. 

 

coffee-563797_1280

“Coffee Tales, Chapter 13: Floy Dean”

Written By Myron J. Clifton

Mom likes to drink a single cup of coffee, light cream, and two teaspoons of sugar. I tried Mom’s coffee today, here is my review.

This is a coffee drink of purpose and destination. A drink without flair or newness. A coffee drink of relief and a boost. It is a drink of necessity as much as it is a drink of comfort. A drink one has in the morning that allows one to get into an unpredictable day and a drink one has in the evening in preparation for a long night ahead.

This is the type of drink one would have in order to work a graveyard shift that demanded acute attention, memory for numbers, sequences matched to places and names that whiz by one per second all night.

And this is the drink of a mother who has four kids and one of whom demands non-stop attention.

It is a drink of ages. Of a meeting of people and cultures in a mystical place full of diverse people brought together by fate and old gods and goddesses communing over shared histories of Africans, French, Mexican, Haitian, British, Canadian and, of course, Native people which led to even more mixed cultures of Creole and Cajun. A jambalaya of people, religion, magic, music, food, and ways to love.

A gumbo of people drawn together in a tiny town near the water, in a haunted place called Louisiana.

Louisiana where a confluence of people and cultures, of free folk and slaves, of Catholic and ancient voodoo and older gods and goddesses all came together to form a magical land. A land where the Natives were here for close to three-thousand years in societies that thrived and established trading routes and healing centers across much of this ancient land.

D350BF8D-5789-4CED-8F69-E29BC5780F36

This is the land that welcomed the new people, some who forced their way in and others who were forced to come. Once all the people were together they found a common love that bridged cultures, time, and beliefs: Food and drinks. And a coffee drink that causes one to pause: Café Brulot Diabolique, or “Devilishly Burned Coffee,” a gem of a coffee drink created close to a hundred years ago and made popular during Prohibition when there was a need to hide one’s alcohol, the drink adds lemon, cloves, cinnamon, sugar and brandy, to 3 cups of hot coffee.

Not Mom’s coffee, for sure.

This is the land of Mom’s coffee then, this land of purchase and pain, of too much water, and of magic that links many people and many goddesses. Chief among all the old and new goddesses are the women who understand Creation intimately as only women can and who use that understanding to bring forth all life. Some called them healers, or midwives, or High Priestesses, or doctors. They are also known as The Divine and Eternal Feminine and the Daughters of the Goddess of Creation.

These are the women who ushered her into the world in a cabin, in the woods, at the confluence of cultures new and ancient that perhaps all came together…for her.

IMG_1047

To drink this drink then is to drink of these women from a different age and different time. Better time? Perhaps, perhaps not. But on this day, yes, they were better as they welcomed one of their own into a world no longer dominated by women. She was among the last of her kind in this land.

And for this she suffered.

Suffering, it is said, is part of life. It can lead to growth and understanding and even Zen and peace. Perhaps if one chooses that path those things can be true. But what if suffering is not by choice? What is suffering is forced upon you? What if suffering is from within?

What purpose then does it fulfill?

This coffee drink then is an acceptance of reality. A regular day. A moment that does not stand out. A need, but not a need fulfilled nor satisfied. It is temporary but transitioning because there is in this plain and regular cup of coffee… hope and life.. and love.

FB190CD0-B93F-4D74-BF02-14F0B704D63C

I believe this cup of coffee, cup of hope, is remembered by her when she is in the company of her women, her Goddesses and Creators who brought forth her life and who now welcome her back to their bosom, now and forever.

I drink this cup of coffee and all cups of coffee in remembrance Floy Dean- girl and woman, and then to remember Mom, and a twenty-one year love journey of riding on her hips, watching her read, and talk, and shop, and laugh, cook, and cry, and studying her every word, look, smile, hair, and expressions of life, pain, and love.

I drink this cup in remembrance and anticipation.

IMG_9772

And I drink Mom’s coffee to see her being welcomed back by her life-givers who simply smile as they hug her. And her smile reflects the stars and her laugh is the wind in heaven and she says through the smile and tears to the Goddesses gathered around to welcome her home:

“Let’s have a cup of coffee.”

This then, is Floy Dean’s and Mom’s drink.

© 2018 DearDean.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

bus 

“A Bus Ride”

Written by M.J.C  

It was a mix of dread and anxiety. Excitement and embarrassment. And guilt, an emotion I didn’t understand in this context feeling this way about my mother.

It was a trip to the doctor with my mother. And it wasn’t the doctor that evoked these conflicting and overwhelming emotions and my first feelings of guilt about letting down my mother. And perhaps the strongest emotion though was the feeling of impending separation from her.

From my mother.

I never wanted to separate from her nor to be apart from her in any way, then and now. And yet on this day as a twelve-year-old I was actively planning to be apart from her for the first time in my young life. I made this moment into a big moment. A huge moment. And it became bigger since the week before when my mother told me we were going to the doctor.

It wasn’t the doctor that I feared. I’d been to the doctor many times before with my mother, for both her appointments and mine. Mine were regular check-ups and normal visits as a result of normal kid activities and kid type injuries. My injuries were always to my head though.

Once I fell off a fence and onto my head and I was knocked out. Another time I was knocked out by my oldest brother swinging a baseball bat. It was an accident. And another time I ran into edge of an opened door. Each time my head was split open with blood flowing and me either knocked out and semi-conscious. I still bear the scars from those injuries – one just above my hairline and two more above my eyes and within my eyebrows. I still touch them now and then to remind myself that these were MY injuries. Injuries not inflicted by the monster.

On this visit to the doctor I was going for a routine checkup and my mom, as usual, was taking me. I was happy for our alone time. I was always happy for our alone time. I never wanted her to spend time with anyone else – not even my siblings – but just with me. I was terribly jealous anytime she talked to anyone. To see her laugh and have fun talking with her friends or her family brought me joy and jealousy. I wanted her attention, ALL of it, all the time. I was never happy without her attention so on those occasions she was busy I stayed close and just watched her.

She’d smile at me or touch my arm or head as she walked by, acknowledging me and giving me enough life to wait her out. I’d just stay close. Sometimes I’d stare until she told me to stop. But most of the time I’d act occupied – a book, or newspapers, or a dictionary – while sneaking peeks at her when I thought she wasn’t watching.

So when she told me she was taking me to the doctor, just the two of us, I was at first happy that we would get our alone time. And the fact that we were riding a bus meant that we’d have time to walk to bus stop; wait for the bus; ride the bus and walk to the hospital; time waiting for the doctor, and then the chance to do it all again on our way home. I’d get all that time with her to myself.  I’d be happy.

But I wasn’t.

As the day of the appointment approached my problems amplified to the point that I fought my internal self’s desire to not go and to not be alone with her. It was the first time I had ever actively thought that I didn’t want to be alone with her, and my conflict made it impossible to sleep during the last two days leading up to the doctor’s visit.

On the day of the trip to the doctor I dressed slowly while not thinking about what was soon to come. I tried not thinking about it but it was there twirling around my head despite my efforts to block it.

We had a light breakfast and then it was time to leave. We walked out and headed toward the bus stop which was just two blocks away. We were early – mom was always early – and so we walked at a good, but not fast, pace.

She made small talk and I felt her warm hands as she held my hand as she always did. I felt her power and I accepted it all. I fed from her and I drank deeply to calm myself. Her energy always overwhelmed me and I loved her for it. Her soft hands gently squeezed when she made a point, or she moved our hands in a gesture to point something out for me to look at. She was in control of my hands, and my heart, and I was part of her.

I loved her so much.

We talked a little more as we waited for the bus and then when we saw it coming, she slowly stood up and I stood still. I’d gotten lost in her attention and all my fears and anxiety had gone away. But now they were back as my companions in anticipation and dread.

The bus slowed in front of us and mom got on first and I followed her steps onto the AC Transit bus, watching as she deposited the coins for our ride. She said hello to the driver and he said hello back, and said something to me. But I wasn’t listening because now was the moment.

Mom walked to a seat about four rows in on the left side and sat down. I was right behind her as she sat and then as she motioned me to sit I walked by. I walked two more rows behind her and on the other side of the bus and then I sat down. I had done it. I was sitting by myself and not with my mother.

I was old enough to sit alone on the bus and I didn’t want anyone to see me sitting by my mother because at my age I shouldn’t have to sit with my mother on a bus. I was old enough to sit alone I told myself over and over during the week leading up the this very trip.

Now that I had actually done it I didn’t know what to think or say. But mom did.

She looked back and said to me “Oh, you’re too big to sit with your mommy now, huh?”

I just stared back in that weird kid way of staring at an adult where in my mind I was telling her how much I loved her and how afraid I was and how scared I was and how I didn’t want to be embarrassed to sit by my mom, but I wanted to be old enough to sit alone, and I didn’t want any friends to see me sitting near the front of the bus with my mom because they’d tease me at school. It was a school day so no kids were on the bus, but it didn’t matter because I was old enough to sit alone and by myself, and further back than mom did, because that’s where the boys sat on the school bus and and and.

But I said nothing. I just stared for five seconds.

Mom broke the silence and said “Okay, that’s fine.”

That was it. That’s all she said!

Was she mad? Was she hurt or surprised or angry or what? What was she feeling and why wouldn’t she tell me. The thirty minute ride was torture as I watched her from an angle and she never looked back at me. To be this close and not be at her center was worse than when she was with friends or family. She was within reach and nothing stopped me from touching her or talking to her. She was so beautiful in the morning light, at this angle, and her profile.

But I didn’t say a word because I was afraid of everything: Her response; any kid seeing me; and my need to be a “big boy” and not be seen as a momma’s boy.

Finally we arrived at our stop. Mom had rung the bell  – in those days one pulled a wire that ran the length of the bus above the seats to indicate to the driver to stop at the approaching bus stop.

When the bus stopped, mom got up, looked back and said “Come on” in her typical quiet voice and direct approach. I got up and we walked the block to the doctor’s office.

She didn’t grab and hold my hand though. She always grabbed and held my hand. But not this time. I guess I really was a big boy now. I was miserable.

We visited my doctor and all went well. We had a snack and then after waiting for a bit we exited the hospital and headed back to the bus stop. Mom didn’t grab my hand. Again.

I’d hoped she had forgotten and things would go back to normal, but my entire world seemed to have changed and it was all my fault.

The bus came and I was numb and unafraid because I had caused mom to no longer see me as her baby boy. I was still her baby boy and I wasn’t ready to be older.

I was so mad at myself but it was all my fault.

Mom paid and took her seat right about at the same place on the bus as she did when we were on our way to the hospital. I watched her sit down and as she put her bag down she looked at me and said “Come sit by momma”.

It was a request; a statement; a demand; and most of all, an opportunity.

I smiled and said “Okay,” and sat next to her. I was so happy again.

The seats were close but not close enough for me so I moved over so our legs were touching. Mom looked down at me and confidently placed her left hand on my right hand. I turned my hand over and held on to her hand.

And I told myself I’d never be a big boy to her and I’d never let go of her hand. I’d hold it every day if I could and feed off her energy and love.

I held her hand all the way home.

© 2017-2018 DearDean.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

img_1298

“A Rainy Day Lunch”

Written by M.J.C

I was early. I was always early. I’m comfortable being alone and settling in before meeting or dining with friends, or anyone really. I need that time to set myself and my emotions at ease. And to prepare to be who I needed to be, depending on who I was to dine with.

I didn’t need any preparation before dining with her, though. But being early was just who I was after all these years. I was excited to see her as always. Though today was tinged with some anxiety which was unusual when seeing her. I pushed my doubt away though the moment I saw her.

She was already there. Earlier than me. As always.

I approached her table and saw her beauty. She was beautiful. A calm and well-lived beauty. A beauty that turned a room and gathered gazes from near and far, men and women. She welcomed those gazes with warmth and confidence. And occasionally a goddess smile of acceptance and absolution.

She smiled at me and I entered a safe place like no other. The falling away of my fears and doubts were immediate as always. And the flowing of her… power was felt emotionally before my logical self was aware.

How are you? She asked, as I leaned in to kiss her on her lips. Her lipstick was subtle, her lips full, soft, and warm. Her smell was familiar. Her hair was soft and smelled of… almond cherry? Honey? Lavender? Daisies? I never asked. I just let all her aromas evelop me.

“Good. All good.” I said.

I immediately asked her how she was doing. Had I asked her that already? Time was slow and fast. And then the waitress asked what we wanted to drink. Where did the waitress come from? Why hadn’t I noticed? I was off my game of being hyper-aware of my surroundings.

She ordered water with lemon, and a diet Pepsi. She picked this restaurant because they served pepsi. Still drinking it, I thought. She drank slowly and with purpose even though she never finished her drink these days.

She used to drink Pepsi from the bottle and always finished it. She’d laugh when I asked for a sip, and then she’d finish it right in front of me. I’d laugh too, even though I really wanted some.

Lunch came and she started eating. I did too. What was I even eating? I don’t remember ordering. What was wrong with me today?

“How was your week?” I asked.

We hadn’t spoken in a few days, which was unusual for us, and I’d missed her. I never got enough of her.

“Everything was very fun and easy,” she answered. She’d visited various friends over the holidays, without staying anywhere too long, and while also not attending any family gatherings. She’d stopped those long ago in favor of regular visits throughout the year.

Saving holidays for her small group of friends. And me. She always made time for our visits. I loved them. I loved her. I never got enough of my time with her and wanted to see her every day. Be with her every day. She knew that and she’d smile and sometimes laugh and say I’d always been that way with her. “I never got enough,” she’d say.

Or she’d ask “have you have enough of me yet?”

“Never.” Was my reply.  Every single time.

“When will you stop your life and just be with me all day, every day?” I asked.

I asked her this question all the time, half playfully and half hopeful that today was the day she’d finally agree to always be with me.

She laughed her full laugh that rarely came out in public. I could get it out of her though, anytime and anywhere.

She ate slowly. She never answered my question either. I was sad but knew why. It didn’t matter, because I’d ask her again soon.

“Stop staring at me,” she said smiling at me as our eyes met.

“Just a moment longer,” I replied.

“Okay, just a moment.” she said as she took a sip of her pepsi and started eating her pasta again.

I stared at her again. She knew I would. I always did. Always would.

I stared and studied. I knew her face, her few freckles, her cheekbones. I loved her skin tone, and her almond eyes and her brows. I breathed in to take in her smell. It was no longer the cherry almond I associated with her, but that’s what I smelled anyway. I knew her face best of all. And yet I didn’t know it at all I thought.

It was always my first time seeing her.

“I know you’re busy next month, but we will see each other later in the month.” She stated this as a fact, not a question. She was a direct speaker and her route to life was a straight path with few squiggly lines.

“Okay, that’s great. Fine. Can’t wait. We will have coffee,” I said, imitating her directness while showing all my eagerness to see her again.

She gave a half smile and said “That sounds good.” She liked how I mimicked her style.

She’d helped me be more forceful and push through my introverted-ness while not losing that part of me which she said she loved. She said my strength was being an introvert and she gently coached me on how to navigate my emotions and fears, and not bury them.

She was gentle and never critical or judgmental.

She was was gentle and slowly but surely I learned how to be…me. Mostly from watching her but also from my own trial and error and feedback from her during our regular quiet time together.

She asked for the check. She was ready to go.

She rarely lingered. She ate, drank, shared a story or two and listened to a story or two from me and then asked me her usual questions.

How’s my granddaughter?
How’s your home?
Are you caring for yourself?
How’s your depression?
Are you staying surfaced with your friends?
Are you writing?
What comic books are you reading?

She asked the last question as our little joke since she’d given me my first comic in an effort to get me to stop reading over her shoulder. It worked and I’d been reading comics ever since.

My answers flowed with ease and joy. I loved when she questioned me because I could let it all out and feel better. Be better. She was my best therapy and she knew it. But she didn’t dwell.

That wasn’t her.

She asked her questions and she listened to my answers and asked a follow-up question here or there when I was too vague for her. I corrected myself and re-answered until she was satisfied. I could never fake an answer with her.

I cried a bit talking about my daughter. And she did too. She loved her as much as me, I thought. They made each other laugh. They frequently laughed about me, with her sharing stories with my daughter of my antics from long ago.

I loved watching them. Those two gave me joy; and they gave one-another joy. They were similar in how they moved; their eyes, how they laughed, and their…power and energy.

They both directed a universal flow of power and love; a type of force field that they controlled and only let certain people feel and penetrate. I was one of those people, so when they were together I was overflowing with their combined essence and it was perfect. Perfect.

The check came and she pulled out her wallet. The server told her the bill was already paid and that she was just bringing the receipt.

She looked over at me and smiled and chuckled.

“You.” That’s all she said.

I’d called ahead and given the restaurant my credit card number so that I could pay. It was the only way I could prevent her from insisting that she pay. And because she always arrived before I did, I needed to handle things way in advance.

She got up and walked to my side of the table. She stood there and I took her hand while still sitting. It was soft, but not too soft. And very warm.

I accepted her energy and it warmed me. She leaned down and said as our cheeks touched: “I’m proud of you; I love you. I miss you, too.”

“Take care, love.”

Her warm tear transferred to my face.

I held her longer than I should have. I touched her face. I Touched her hair as I always did when we hugged. I didn’t want her to leave. I wanted to go with her. This time I would. I’d just get up and walk out with her.

But I didn’t. I sat there as I always did.

She started to fade now. Becoming faint. Thinned out, until she was no longer there.
Mom was gone and I sat there alone again. Missing her and looking forward to our next visit later in the month, in late January.

Next time, I’ll leave with her, I told myself as I paid for my lunch and left the restaurant.

© 2017-2018 DearDean.com. All Rights Reserved.

If you enjoyed this blog, please follow or share with a friend! You can also learn more about Myron J. Clifton on his website, Dear Dean Publishing.

1 Comment

  1. Every time I read about Your mom I learn something new that I didn’t catch the first time. Thank you for sharing a part of her with us!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s