Just smile

Winter blues can bring you down.
So buddy, turn that frown around.
And if you do, you’ll surely smile.
One happy smile should last a while.

Oh what a gift. It’s such a lift.
Our winters are too long.
So grin away, as best you may.
Till we hear a robin’s song.

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From Blue to Pink

I’ve been missing my Mom.

Every tax season brings gentle reminders of Aprils past when I’d take time off work to call banks and insurance companies to reissue Mom’s tax forms.

In her final years, Mom would often lose, toss, or neatly fold her 1099s into empty containers of Pringles chips.

Dementia was eating away at her brain.

Still we’d persevere.

I’d put Mom on the desk phone in the family room next to her brightly colored Swedish horse collection.

And I’d be on the kitchen wall phone with an extra long cord, so I could prompt Mom as the phone reps for the firms would answer.

But she was much quicker on the draw.

And sweeter.

She’d be peppering them with questions from the first hello.

“Now, where do you live, and how’s your weather out there today?”

“That’s nice, say, what’s your name again?”

“Oh my, so you’re Swedish then. I bet I know your cousin! ”

It didn’t matter if the phone rep was Irish, Israeli, or Indian.

Everybody was Swedish in her new world of memory loss.

After each prolonged phone call, we’d celebrate with a toast to strong coffee and Swedish Ginger cookies.

These chilly April days I’m making phone calls for my own missing tax forms.

Did I lose or toss them like Mom used to do?

Or could the issue relate to a recent move?

Glancing at Mom’s Swedish horses this morning living now in my family room, I craved a ginger cookie.

And a chance to see Mom’s smile again.

I decided to take a break and drive to a hot new restaurant nearby. It’s a bit pricey at night, but I was hoping a ten and the change in my pocket would more than cover breakfast.

The cuisine is Scandinavian, but as I walked in the new age Swedish music and contemporary design said “this is not your Mother’s Sweden”.

I grabbed a table anyway, as filtered sun through the front window warmed me from the cold and damp beyond.

Then I peeked at the menu and grinned.

I heard Mom in the printed words before me: herring, lingonberries, pickled beets.

Though I opted for Swedish pancakes.

I was in heaven with the first bite tasting the warm juniper, honey, and oranges inside.

As I poured myself more coffee from the shiny glass decanter, something caught my eye outside the window.

I looked up to see iridescent bubbles of blue, pink, and gold catching a breeze and rising higher and higher.

Finally, melting into the clouds.

It appeared the source was a bubble machine nestled behind an oversized teddy bear in front of the toy store across the street.

I lingered longer at the sight, watching the bubbles dance away.

And so did the children and their mothers strolling by.

Mom, too, would have loved the display I thought to myself.

As would my grandsons.

After paying the bill, I crossed the street to buy some of the colored magic potion.

“Oh, we only use the clear bubbles here in our machine,” I was confidently told by the clerk.

Baffled, I walked out of the store.

I looked up at the sky one more time.

“The clerk is right, the bubbles are clear,” I mumbled softly.

Still, I was sure they weren’t when I looked out of the restaurant window.

I smiled as I slowly walked back to my car to continue working on my taxes.

And just for a moment I felt someone watching, and smiling over me.