Saturday, July 31, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I had every intention of publishing this post on July 25, the day my mother would have turned 86. Unable to pull it together in time, I came to the realization that a delayed posting was, in fact, the perfect tribute. My mother was always late.

She never caught the beginning of a movie. Accustomed to the out-of- breath whirlwind digging through her purse for money, the ticket vendor always allowed her to come back to watch the start of the next showing.

Dinner at 5:30 was out of the question, and the plates reached the table later with each passing year. While a moonlit meal in Paris brings to romance to mind, the same scenario in Trucksville, Pennsylvania brought only an empty stomach and gas pains. We knew she meant well and did our best to enjoy leathery steak sentenced to death by one of her many distractions. I often tried to rescue the meat while Mom bustled about the kitchen; my efforts were at best 50/50  as she chastised me for being impatient. So much for my career as an EMT.

The concept of an early start was elusive and seldom realized. A trip to the mall never began any earlier than 1:00 and ended with her Chevy Caprice flying up the hill  just in time to be late for dinner. "There's Dan Gurney," my father would say, making reference to the famous Formula One driver. "Do you know that she can back out of a driveway faster than most people pull in?"

Though governed by a skewed time zone, she managed our lives and schedules and was a loving hands-on mom. I may have gotten my behind into the dentist chair nanoseconds before the Novocaine hit, but I got there. She had all the time in the world while I agonized over the latest fashions in a fitting room. I didn't return the favor, fidgeting and whining before she could get one finger in a glove. She chauffeured my friends and I to the mall, where we would go our separate ways after determining when and where we would later meet. Manning our post well past the appointed time, we would eventually hear the screech of heel clatter as a five foot two inch bullet barrelled towards us like a bat out of hell.

While I can't lay claim to my mother's good nature and sweet disposition, genetics' sense of humor has kept this apple pretty close to the tree. I carry on my mother's tradition of dysfunctional time management while making a mad dash for the finish line. She recognized my gift and often told me, "You'll be late for your own funeral." God, I hope so.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Photo- Rosemary Devine Harrison and unidentified beau.


  1. I totally enjoyed this Joan!

    Lorraine Alles

  2. that was fantastic Joan! I am the same way with time. I read somewhere that its because we think we're more important, but I don't believe thats true. If anything, for me, I do best when I'm crunched and will often squeeze as much as I can in a moment.

    love the last line!!! gave me chills :))))))

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Harrison - what a wonderful mother you were to Joan and might I add... the resemblance (minus the banjo) is remarkable!

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  4. Hi Joan-

    I'm a fellow dog blogger and I came across your blog on the Blog Catalog. I enjoyed my visit here and now I'm following.

    Lucy's Human

  5. Joan.. this was beautiful.. funny and true as well. I remember your Mom flying like a bat out of hell into the driveway and always with tons of bags in her hand from your Dad bitching about dinner.
    I miss them both so much..
    Happy birthday Rose... thank you for always keeping my house key for me when I forgot mine so I wouldnt get in trouble.