Nik Davies spends most of her available time making up stories and writing them down and although she’s never found evidence, she’s convinced her mother is either a superhero or an alien, maybe even both!
Throughout my life my mom has been the ultimate role model. She forged through the ugly stigmas placed upon woman with bi-racial children in the late 60’s and early 70’s and somehow managed to emerge stronger. She never slowed, never gave in. Instead she kept her sights set on the world and all that it had to offer and she dragged us with her every step of the way. We did things back then that I look upon now with awe. More often than not, I scratch my head and say, “What the heck was she thinking?”
Mom’s famous Christmas parties, back yard barbecues, and elaborate Easter egg hunts kept her holding the title of coolest parent in the neighborhood for most of my childhood. She scared the shitake mushrooms out of every trick or treater on Halloween and to this day Halloween is still her favorite holiday. In fact, just last Halloween she dressed as a glowing banshee and chased screaming kids from her porch and halfway down the street. Gotta love her!
Mom always did everything big. She nearly killed herself every year stringing our ‘National Lampoon’ Christmas lights and I’ll never forget the day she chased a peeping Tom from my window with a baseball bat. To this day that woman is fast and furious. She taught us how to swim without knowing how to swim herself and took us and any interested neighborhood kid camping and fishing every summer. She surrounded us with music, theater and art. I think I was the only kid in kindergarten that could use Tchaikovsky in a sentence. She took in every wayward soul that needed a home and fixed everything from leaky pipes to broken toys to the old family Fiat. She was resourceful to the point of obsession and at 5 feet tall and 90 pounds fully dressed, she refused to buy anything she could build with her own small hands.
Mom gave us a great childhood but the summer of ’76 was by far the adventure of a lifetime. During the same summer in which then unidentified serial killer David Berkowitz, aka The Son of Sam, began a yearlong shooting spree, mom decided to take us on a state by state expedition to sunny southern California. It was one of the best and worst summers of my life. The worst because I was stuck with my family in a twelve foot van for 73 days and the best for the exact same reason. Sometimes we stayed at hotels, sometimes we camped at trailer parks, sometimes we pulled over to the side of the road and crashed like the dead. When Mom needed help she shouted out to some “Good Buddies” on her CB radio or tracked down the elusive payphone and called Nana back home in the Berkshires.
We drove through my seventh summer of life and never looked back. Our wheels touched nearly every state in this great country and a few provinces in Canada too. I met a real Indian chief in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I stood on the spot in Louisiana where Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by a posse of policemen. Mom got us lost in the pitch blackness of Deadwood Gulch, South Dakota and we heard her cuss like a drunken sailor for the first time in our lives. Way cool! There were terrifying moments too like the time we got side swiped by a drunk driver in Michigan, or the time we had to hide my aunt’s Maui Waui stash in a baked chicken in the mini-fridge so we could get through border patrol. Hey, it was the 70’s! Betcha they’re both wishing I didn’t remember that but I do…I DO! The most terrifying moments by far were when Mom tried to get our zero horsepower, two ton 1968 Volkswagen popup-van, to the top of an enormous mountain so that “her babies” could get a better view of Mount Rushmore. The poor van could only make it to the middle of the mountain before rolling backward into the vehicles behind us. She kept turning around on a tiny patch of earth no bigger than a postage stamp with a nightmarish drop off view of the canyon floor three thousand feet below. She tried getting up that hill SIX TIMES. I swear I got my first grey hair that day. There was also the time Mom raced a tornado across the flatlands of Oklahoma. We outran it with the only casualties being the windshield wipers the twister took in exchange for our lives. You can’t make this stuff up. Okay, maybe I can but I’m serious here, this is all true.
I’ve told you all that to tell you this—you may not be lucky enough to have been raised by a nut-ball slash super heroine mom like I have but I’m sure there is or has been a woman in your life that proved amazing in her own sparkling way. This Mother’s Day, go out of your way to thank that special woman. Forget the cards, flowers, candies or presents. Tell her about a time in your life when she was your hero and gift her with a memory of her utter amazingness. Even if she’s no longer with you, tell your children, your neighbor or the cashier at the grocery store. Find a way to give thanks for ALL the amazing women that grace your world. We wouldn’t be here without ‘em!
PS – THANKS A LOT MOM!! I really, really love you!
In closing: We never encountered the Son of Sam on our cross country journey but if we had, he would have regretted meeting Mom and her Louisville Slugger. Trust me!