When my 84 year old little mother gets an idea in her head, she begins to drum the beat of the thought into the heads of all those around her, be they family members or innocent bystanders. Yesterday's thought: What happened to the hip-gyrating Santa playing Kenny G's version of Jingle Bells on a saxophone? The "what happened to" card has been dealt approximately 5,432 times since we moved her from her home in Waco to her apartment at Raider Ranch. "What happened to the tablecloth my mother hand-crocheted that she was SOOO proud of?" "What happened to all my pretty pillowcases?" "What happened to my dancing shoes?" "What happened to that set of recipe books? You know...there was one for meat, one for desserts, and one for appetizers. There were at least five books in that set!" When I hear the tiniest beginnings of the question, "What hap...," I cringe deep down inside. The inquisition cometh.
We spent three weeks in August preparing Mom for the big move to Lubbock by sorting through every empty butter tub, piece of jewelry, and gardening tool determining what would happen to each item. Here is a breakdown of the "What Will Happen" options:
- Take to Raider Ranch apartment
- Take to Carolyn's house
- Pass down to a grandchild
- Pass down to a relative
- Give to a neighbor
- Sell in the Estate Sale
- Give to the housekeeper
- Hide in the back of a closet so that it would "accidentally" get sold in the Estate Sale (my own private category, the items that I later referred to as "Dang Those Movers" casualties)
There were "What Will Happen" piles labeled and scattered throughout the house. I tried to convince Mom to take only her most beautiful and prized possessions to her new, very small apartment. Turns out she saw beauty in and highly prized 95% of the items we were trying to cull through.
Another piece of this equation is the fact that my mom is an "Indian Giver." I know, I know...the term "Indian Giver" is not politically correct, and I apologize to each and every Indian for my lack of a better title. But, she is one. All year long, my mother stockpiles gifts for loved ones whenever she finds "treasures" that a particular person will "just LOVE." Case in point - the gyrating Santa playing the Kenny G version of Jingle Bells on a saxophone. This lovely little item was purchased several years ago for my cousin, Sherry. It reminded Mom of my Uncle Bill who passed away 12 years ago. He was the family's sax player. Once purchased - probably at half price the week after the previous Christmas - Mom tucked Sherry's gift away in her gift closet with a satisfied smile. When the very next Christmas rolled around, Mom decided that this novelty Santa was so cute that she just HAD to keep it. "I'll give it to Sherry just before I go to heaven!"
This Santa is very simular to the one Mom is mourning...
As we were going through Mom's Christmas decorations in August, I set Sax Santa aside next to the animated Snowman that pounded out Christmas tunes on a plastic upright piano. I convinced - or thought I had convinced - Mom that Sherry would be proud and honored to have Sax Santa bestowed upon her in honor of the auspicious occasion of Mom's Long-Awaited Move to Lubbock. Biting her lower lip she gave a long look at the jolly little fellow and finally murmured, "OOOOOOOkay," in a most uncertain manner. I felt like I was trying to talk her into euthanizing a perfectly healthy puppy. Quickly changing the subject, I exclaimed, "Won't Wanda be proud to add that piano playing snowman to her collection of snowmen! Yes, indeed! She'll be tickled to death!"
Which brings me to yesterday. Bryce went to pick up Mom just after lunch so that she could help with the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. In the car on the way over Mom chatted away. "I wish I could find my Kenny G Santa! We don't know where it is! I bought it a few years ago for Sherry, but, it was so cute that I kept it. It was one of my FAVORITE Christmas decorations!" In the dining room as she and I set the table, "I wish I could find my Kenny G. Santa! We don't know where it is! I bought it a few years ago for Sherry, but, it was so cute that I kept it. It was one of my FAVORITE Christmas decorations!" She brought it up again while she was drying the piles of pots and pans. Again as we enjoyed our dinner. One last time as she was buttoning up her coat for the return trip to Raider Ranch.
Why has my mother mentioned Kenny G Santa SO many times? A tad of dementia? A subtle form of payback for the "loss" of the beloved item? Or, a well-crafted plan of mental abuse patterned after Chinese water torture. (My apologies to the Chinese.) Alan and I actually discussed each possibility yesterday sometime between putting the bird in the oven and cutting the pumpkin pie. Whatever her intention, we got the message - loud and clear. Sherry is about to get a phone call from a desperate cousin. "I'm begging you...please...give Saxophone Santa back to Mimi!! I will BUY it from you! I will get you a gyrating one-man-band Santa that plays every Johnny Mathis Christmas tune known to man! Just give Santa back! With God as my witness, I will do everything in my power to make all of your Christmas dreams come true!"
Alan and I just returned from a quick trip to Home Depot. Right as we walked through the Depot's sliding doors, Alan exclaimed, "Hey, look!!" Just to the left of the door were some shelves overflowing with Christmas gimmick decorations including a Sax Playing Santa. I grabbed one up and turned it on. Not Kenny G. Not Jingle Bells. I actually stood there listening to her voice in my brain, "This one is really cute, but, I wish I could find my Kenny G Santa! We don't know where it is! I bought it a few years ago for Sherry, but, it was so cute that I kept it. It was one of my FAVORITE Christmas decorations!"
As a consolation prize, we bought her an animated Santa hat that gyrates to the tune of Feliz Navidad. She can alternate wearing it and her favorite red French beret to dinner at the Ranch. It is cute. She is cute. It's all cute, cute, cute. My guess is that she will love the new hat. My other guess is that she will regift it before the clock strikes midnight. I can hear her now. "My housekeeper, Modesta, has really missed me since I moved from Waco! She'll LOVE this Santa hat because she speaks Spanish!"
On Dasher! On Dancer! On Donder! On Kenny G!