My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Signs of Spring

It must be Spring. The leaves that fell from the tree last fall and landed on the patio have been rained on and rerained on so many times they’ve formed a rich carpet of mulch on the cement that only a shovel will be able to remove. The umbrella that was hanging from the front hall chair has been put away deep in the closet and the empty planter swinging from the shepherd’s hook just beyond our front door is crying out for color. A pair of ducks from the pond across the street, a dazzling green headed male and his mousy brown spouse, have taken up residence on the lawn across from our townhouse. The hills are still so green here in the Conejo that if you squint and block out the freeway exit signs you can almost trick yourself into believing you’re in Ireland on holiday. And at the end of the month, the kids at least, will be on spring break.
Maybe the luck of the Irish has rubbed off on you and you’re off to some exotic locale - far enough away to escape your day to day world as well as the thousands of American college students looking to rip off the heavy cloak of winter - and in some cases, a tad more. For the rest of us who are homebound this spring there’s still plenty to do to celebrate the rites of spring. Tomorrow, a look at some of those ways.

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