Friday, March 4, 2011

Whistler's Mother

It's really late and my husband and I are both yawning as we lean back in mother's livingroom watching television. Before we began staying with mother at night, it was next to impossible to get her to watch TV. Time and time again, my siblings and I had all but jumped up and down, begging and pleading for her to watch, something! Knowing that having the stimulation of people's voices as well as just knowing someone was in sight other than a dog or cow, would prove to be beneficial to mother, so we thought.

I have began to notice that mother is becoming more and more attached to some of the TV shows that Bob and I choose to watch each night. "I need to go to bed, but I want to see who they pick," mother accidentally blurts out. It's American Idol night, and my husband has done me the honors of installing a small antenna on the roof and one in the window, just so I can watch my favorite program. "Well, just wait a few more minutes" I tell her. "Where in the world is my dog?" she inquires. "She's outside as usual mother," I say. Without failure, mother's dog Annie will go to the door somewhere close to bedtime each night and beg to go out. Aware that it will take an Act of Congress to get her back in, my husband obliges her anyway, leaning back from his comfy chair and opens the door for her without getting up.

We sit and listen as Annie chases any and everything from a rabbit to a deer outside mother's front door. If you dare open the door and beckon her to come in, she'll take off running as if you've shot a gun! For several nights now, I have had the good fortune of getting her in the house only by "whistling." It's a well known fact, that most Gibsons are good "whistlers." My dad was one of the best whistlers I have ever known. For many years, passerbyers in our small town could enjoy his many tunes as he whistled while he worked on his customer's vehicle.

I sit quietly as mother and my husband both give out threatening warnings to mother's friend Annie. Nothing doing, she will not come in. Thinking that I will soon show my clout by displaying a few whistles, I jerk my neck around as I hear someone whistling so loud that I am in disbelief. Knowing that my husband Bob has many attributes, but whistling not one of them, I say, "mother, was that you?" "Why yes, you 'Doorbell,' who did you think it was?" she smarts. The name she has chosen to call me is not enough , but the fact that my 82 year old mother has just whislted like a tea pot, is the biggest surprise of all!

Annie comes in and as the routine goes, she and mother began their nightly walk down the hall to mother's bedroom as I hear mother say, "Come on "Annie Marie let's go to bed!" My husband and I spontaneously look at each other with my jaw dropping as we hear her words. For as long as I can remember, I have called my granddaughter "Gracie" who is five years old, "Gracie Marie." I have never been able to figure out just why I have given her this nickname. Only this past week, Gracie had come to spend the day at my house when she had informed me that since she was a big girl now, she no longer wanted me to call her "Marie." Saddened at the fact that she is growing up now and that my given nickname for her no longer warms her heart, I pretend to cry. I ask again, "Gracie, can't I please call you Marie, that's Nana's special name for you." "Seeing that she has made me sad, Gracie relents and agrees to allow me to call her the name that I thought was so special.

Tonight, I have learned two things about my mother; one, she can whistle like a bird and two, she is the creator of my beloved granddaughter Gracie's nickname "Marie." For me, I have learned only one thing, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

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