I promise I will not let the Vinyl Village turn into nothing more than a collection of stories about my crazy mother. But she gives me so much damned material, I can’t help it.
I’ve got to give you a bit of background information, so bear with me.
When I was in high school and college, mom dated a man we will call Scott. (Actually, everyone called him Scott because that was his real name). Anyhoo…they dated for, I don’t know, six years maybe. He was in charge of a large construction company that built hospitals and schools and so he traveled a lot. He was in my hometown building an addition to the hospital I was born in when Mom accompanied one of her ex husbands to a party and met Scott. He was an OK guy, I couldn’t fault him for anything, though he and I never really clicked–he just figured I was part of the package, and I was too old to really give a damn who she dated.
He was fairly well off. He bought mom a sporty red car, and since it couldn’t be driven in winter, provided her with a nice new Bronco as well. He spent obscene amounts of money on mom, my sister, and myself at Christmas, birthdays, etc. After the hospital in my hometown was done, his next job was a few hours away, but they kept the relationship going long distance by spending most weekends together. Mom even packed up everything she owned and moved to Texas with him for a period of several months.
I don’t recall why they broke up. It may have been that mom used his credit cards to the tune of $4 or $5 thousand a month one or two times too many.
But at any rate, they split. Looking back, he may have been the only man mom ever cared much for. In the ten years or so since they split, mom has made several references to him. “Scott called…” or “Scott wrote…” She seemed to like the idea that he still had some sort of feelings for her, though I always felt that he probably never called or wrote after they split up.
And so, about a month after my sister passed away, Mom mentioned that Scott had come to the funeral. Sensing my doubts, she added that he had stood at the rear of the funeral home and not spoken to anyone. I dismissed her claim out of hand. Their breakup had not been particularly ugly as far as I was concerned, and I couldn’t imagine that he would have felt the need to lurk at the back of the sanctuary, and was certain that he would have spoken to me had he really been there.
I didn’t press it. I figured mom needed to believe, for whatever reason, that he still cared for her.
So a night or two before I left on vacation last week, mom called me in tears. When I asked what was wrong, she stammered out between sobs that Scott had died the same night my sister did. (A quick look at the social security death index revealed that much to be true). Before I could tell myself that it was probably an insensitive question, I blurted “Well how the hell was he able to make it to her funeral then?”
She stammered that it must have been his brother, they looked alike, and she was confused. Fair enough. Except that in six years of them being together, I’d never even heard a brother mentioned, and one would assume that he would have been at another funeral that weekend. I let it go, though.
“Scott did come up to the hospital though when she was there” mom said. I knew this was next to impossible, since I had been at the hospital myself for all but a few hours while my sister was there and found it odd that mom was only now mentioning it when her previous story that he had been at her funeral was obviously a lie.
“When?” I asked.
“That night you went home.” she said, “He came up to her room and sat with us for a few hours, and gave her a kiss on the head before he left.” The night I went home was the night before both my sister and Scott died.
“Well, how did you find out he had passed?” I asked.
“His wife called me” she said. I never realized he had married, and I was fairly certain Mom would have told me if she had known.
“Well what did he die of?” I asked.
And there was the total disconnect from reality. She expected me to believe that a man she dated a decade earlier had left his own deathbed, his own wife, to fly across three states to see an old flame in her hour of need?
“Mom, that doesn’t even make sense.” I pointed out.
“He had a morphine drip” she said. I don’t know why but she honestly believe that this man flew there, hours before his own death to see her. Not to mention that the town my sister died is has a TINY TINY airport–not the sort of place you can fly into on a moments notice, and certainly not the place you can fly into and out of in a few hours time.
So I ignored mom’s calls while I was on vacation. Frankly, sometimes talking to her is work. But I did call her today, just to let her know that I was ok and had gotten back from the beach house in one piece. She sounded great–which is rare lately. (She usually sounds sick or overmedicated).
“I had a date last night!” she was gushing.
She went on to tell me that they had gone to Chili’s and split some appetizers. I offered the advice that she should have at least ordered a meal, as she didn’t want to be known as someone who could be had for half of an Awesome Blossom–but she insisted that it was a romantic dinner. Then they had gone to MEET MY GRANDMOTHER.
“On your first date???” I said, shocked.
“Well gay Robert had an angel Im gonna put out in the yard that he’s sent for me, and I needed someone to help me lift it.” (gay Robert is my grandmothers long time hair dresser–and mom has the annoying habit of sometimes putting “gay” out front as if it’s really his first name. To be fair, he has always put the gay out front in his own way, and doesn’t seem to mind it)
She went on to say tell me that her beau had two teen daughters from a failed marriage, what kind of car he drove, what sort of work he did, and the he was going to fix her toilet and install some bathroom shelves Mom has had sitting in her living room for two years. I shudder to think what transpired that would make a man volunteer his services as mover, plumber, and carpenter after only one date, but I have a sinking feeling it happened in her bedroom rather than over a Skillet Queso. Or maybe he had to volunteer those things just to get away. I may never know, and frankly don’t want to.
But I was happy for her, because she sounded genuinely enthralled with the guy–a real rarity.
“Well how did you meet him?” I asked.
“We’ve been talking since February but this was the first time I’d ever actually met him in person.” Those are words Im accustomed to hearing from friends who try online dating–but mom doesn’t even own a calculator, much less a computer.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We’ve been talking on the phone since then.” she said.
“Well who introduced you?” I asked, thinking that a mutual friend had given out phone numbers.
“Nobody” she said, “he dialed a wrong number and we’ve been talking ever since.” DIALED A WRONG NUMBER??? How do you even get beyond “No, you have the wrong number” to start a conversation? I predict they will be living together by the end of the month.