Again my selfish purpose in writing down these family stories is to make the first step in preserving them for my grand children before I enter that twilight of the mind where the memories have gone back to dust.
I have started out with the more humorous stories because they are less emotional to relate, but my mother was way more than a constant source of amusement. I should say that what made her so funny to me was that she did not have a traditional sense of humor. I mean the exploding bed story would not be nearly so funny if she was in the corner of the bedroom covered in splintered wood and bedding and she she found it funny. I would tell her the same Polish joke (we are Polish on my mother's side) every year. I would say "Mom, did you hear about the Polish man who almost beat the train to the railroad crossing?" And she would say "Why no son I haven't." and I would answer "He almost made it, he hit the fifty second car." and she would say with a serious demeanor. "How can you say he almost made it. He was not even close?"
But I want my grand kids to know also the enormity of her compassion because it is what made her so special.
After we moved to Maine where my mother had opened up her second chiropractic practice and where we had joined her the last few years of her life I began to have a new appreciation of her. She worked for the love of helping others and gradually became more informal in her dress and really did not care about sticking to a prescribed length of time for a treatment. She had a beautifully old waiting room right off the kitchen that contained some comfortable chairs and a Steinway player piano. One day I came home from my wood shop and saw my pre teen daughter and my mother scrubbing the rust off of an old bike. They were laughing and having a grand time oblivious to the disaster of a mess they were creating in what was supposed to be a professional waiting room. I asked them what they were doing and mother replied. "We are fixing up this bike to give to Linda (not her real name)" I was surprised. Linda was a young girl in the terminal stage of what I think was cancer. Her blue collar father accompanied by the mother would carry her swollen body in for her weekly treatment. There is something so awful about a whimpering child in pain. Neither the parents or my mother had any illusions about a cure, but my mother was able to give her pain relief. I know also that my mother never charged this family. If a child was involved my mother was simply one of thsose rare angels. She could be abrasive with adults at times and had a fierce temper but little kids never saw those human failings. They saw a loving smile and heard a gentle voice and felt her love. Anyway, I said "Mom, I don't understand why you are doing this. Linda is never going to ride this bike." Dr. Mary looked at me and said. "Ronnie, Julia and I know that but Linda thinks she will ride this bike someday and that is all that matters." Linda passed away a short time later but she had many moments of priceless happiness thinking about riding the bike her Dr. Mary had given her.