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"Two True Stories For Mother's Day"


Thereís something about a photograph. 

Many people believe that having your picture taken 
steals some of your soul. 

I look at pictures of friends and relatives who have died, 
and I can see that soul, 
especially in the eyes, the expression, 
and even the body english. 

I have a picture of my mother 
taken at a holiday gathering during her later years. 
She was smiling, and seemed to be in the Christmas spirit. 

Iíve looked at that picture many times, 
but a few weeks ago, I enlarged it, 
and thought I saw something. 

I hit the 200% button, made it really big, 
and zoomed in on her face. 
The smile was still there, 
but in her eye I saw something unexpected: 
A tear. 

I sat back in shock and took a deep breath. 
What could she have been thinking? 
Was it a tear of joy or sadness? 
Did she know that it may be one of her last family moments? 
I asked her that question aloud, 
but the photograph didnít answer. 

Iím sure we were all enjoying the moment together, 
but at the same time, taking it for granted. 
You always think there will be many more. 
Now I realize 
my mother was not taking that moment for granted. 

I keep going back to look at the photo, 
even though itís burned into my mind, 
and my heart. 

When I discovered the tear behind her smile, 
I had tears to match hers. 
We spoke to each other beyond the limits of time and space. 

There is soul in a photograph. 

*     *     * 


It was my mother's birthday. 
She was in her sixties or seventies, 
but still kept her hair red. 
She was a sweetheart, 
and we wanted to do something she'd enjoy. 
Always classy, even when we were broke, 
she was artistic, had good taste, and dignity. 

We took her to a great expensive restaurant 
down near Cypress Gardens. 
The place is filled with real antiques, 
and the rest rooms have gold faucets. 
It has its own landing strip for big shot customers like Merv Griffin. 
But even the highest-class restaurant can get a fly, 
and we got one. 

The fly seemed to hang around my mother's head. 
She was trying to keep her poise, but it was driving her nuts. 
I told the waitress, 
who brought an old fashioned metal screen fly swatter, 
and tried patting my mother gently on top of the head with it. 
The fly found this very refreshing. 
You can't swat a fly gently. 

The screen mesh of the swatter 
got caught in the top of my mother's hair. 
She laughed, a little embarrassed, 
but she had a good sense of humor. 
The top piece of her hair was an attachment she wore 
to prevent her roots from showing. 

The hairpiece started to come off, 
the fly was getting excited, 
and we were all breaking up. 
It was like a Three Stooges scene, 
and we couldn't stop laughing about it for a week. 

It was the best birthday party I ever went to. 

Happy Mother's Day. 

Jack Blanchard 

Copyright © May 10, 2006 by Jack Blanchard, Reprinted By Permission. 
All rights reserved.


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