More Cigarettes, Mom & Memories

I saw a great movie this weekend – Begin Again with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo & Adam Levine. Fantastic. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for sure. Several blogs could certainly be born & penned from how it affected me. Probably not though. Moving on.

Mark’s character in the movie smoked More cigarettes. Our Mom smoked them too. They are distinctive & almost elegant – long, skinny & dark brown in color. As the night wore on memories of her came sweeping over me. Funny what triggers them. I’d like to share some with you.

Mary Lou aka Mom, Mama, Grandma – was a beautiful woman, from her youngest years till she passed on. She carried herself with grace & poise even when she was in her “house dress” & not a stitch of makeup.

For as long as I could remember she always smelled good & always had her hair “fixed”. Her clothes always looked nice, matched & were never wrinkled. She accessorized well & wore the same shade of lipstick, foundation, blush & eye shadow for years. And they were perfect on her. And because she lost hers somewhere along the way, she wore false eyelashes. I can even remember the brand & what length she liked. They just accentuated her big, beautiful eyes even more. She took great pride in her appearance. It’s where I get it from. I used to sit in her room when I was little & just stare at her while she got ready. Even today sometimes when I’m doing my hair I catch myself turning this way or that, using my pick & my hairspray – & I take on her form. It blesses me every time it hits me.

Mom was well-read, enunciated her words properly & had a wide vocabulary for someone who had very little formal education. She was wise & had a keen radar of discernment for what was on the inside of other people. She retired after many years of service from a local mental health facility & I’ve been told she was wonderful at her job. I’m sure she helped many a soul as they passed through.

She was a pistol, our Mom. She’d tell you what she thought in a minute & had a fiery temper. She was strong & brave, those muscles born from much suffered in grief & loss through her years. I am sorry for what I know I put her though. She had me late in life & I pushed her to her limits many times. She just wanted me to be happy & healthy as any good Mom would. She loved us each differently, in her own way.  

Some of my fondest memories of her when I was a child were strangely when I was sick. She would stay home from work to care for me & I had her full attention. She would make me the coziest bed on the couch with fresh sheets & a blanket & pillow & turn on the TV usually to channel 4- PBS, with the likes of Sesame Street & The Electric Company & such. And taking a towel filled with ice cubes & a hammer outside to the front porch, she’d whack that ice till it was crushed perfectly. Then I’d hear the crack from the kitchen as she opened a glass bottle of old-fashioned Coca-Cola & that sound like no other as she’d pour it over. Ahhhhhh. I loved how the bubbles would tickle my nose. Man that was some good medicine right there – nothing quite like it. And once in a while she’d come back & check on me – her cool, soft hand on my forehead – & I knew I was loved. There is healing in it.  

I wish I had spent more time with her on this side when I had the chance. I know there was so much more to her – after all she’d bore & seen. How could there not be?  

I miss her.

Here’s to you Mom – to your beauty, your poise, your fierce determination to persevere & most of all, your love.

I’m grateful to come from your stock.

Your youngest,

Bonnie Lou





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