Sunday, May 9, 2010

I got my sense of humor from Mom

My mom will be 85 next month. She suffers with Alzheimer’s and our conversations are too infrequent and, unfortunately, rather shallow nowadays. It’s all part of the inevitable progression of this disease. Maybe someday we’ll find a cure.

Mom (left) and her sister, JoAnn, from Quincy, MA

I have many fond memories of the crazy things she used to say. I realize now that she is the source of my sense of humor and some of the off-the-wall thoughts that invade my mind during key moments at important business meetings.

Not that my dad didn’t have a sense of humor. He laughed at funny things, particularly at his favorite shows, like Hee Haw. But he didn’t tell many jokes or make many wise cracks.

Mom, on the other hand, would be in the kitchen and say stuff like “Lord have mercy!” I’d look to see what the emergency was and she’d say “This water is never going to boil. The faucet’s colder than a well digger’s butt.”

I remember being a passenger one time when she pulled the car out of the driveway. After adjusting her mirror, she looked past me to the right rear view mirror and said “I can’t see anything out of that mirror. Change it.”

“Which way?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said, “I can’t see anything.”

“Can you see the glass of the mirror?”


“Then what’s reflecting off the glass?” I asked.

“Nothing. I can’t see anything.”

“Well is it gray, like a road? Or blue, like the sky?” I pressed on, being a bit of a jerk, I admit.

“It’s nothing. There’s nothing in the mirror.”

“It can’t be nothing,” I insisted. “Light waves are reflecting off of the surface of the mirror, bouncing into your eyeballs and hitting your optic nerves, so you must be seeing something.”

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Now I see something. I see me putting the car in park, leaning over and wringing your neck.”

“How about now?” I asked after moving the mirror to where I thought it should be.

“Much better.”

I remember a time years earlier when I was in grade school and my friend, Ducky, and I were with my parents driving back from the city dump. It was a hot, summer day and the windows were rolled down. We had our arms out our windows, pretending our hands were airplanes climbing up and swooping down.

We asked if we could play outside when we got home. Mom said, with a completely deadpan expression, “Nope. Too windy.”

She put her arm out the window, catching the 60-mph air and demonstrated to us how windy it was.

“But that’s because we’re driving,” we said, with half a question mark at the end. I mean, was she serious? Even we kids, who only had the benefit of two years of schooling could figure out the it wasn’t the air, but the car that was creating the wind.

“Nope. Too windy.”

Our shoulders dropped and we slumped down, overtaken by our disappointment in her misunderstanding of the physics of air and a car moving through it at 60 mph.

She got me plenty of other times. I grew to anticipate these games and got her back on occasion as well. I miss those exchanges with her, but I’ve got my memories that I guard like heirlooms.


  1. Good morning Mr. Hunt If it were not for the Mothers in our lives some of us would have no life. The values we recieve growing up can be attributed to our loving Mothers who shared the expeiences of lifes struggle in ways we may never understand. These experiences can give us the strenght to accomplish many challenges in todays world.The old saying that in any argument we have two sides to the story, was ingrained into me as a young lad. My Mother would look for the good parts of humanity, even though she would suffer her whole life with many obsticles. I think at least for me, that my Mothers love provided me with more compassion and understanding of human nature in general. In my own life I would give more credit to my wife of over 50 years to raising our three sons and providing them with the worldly insite and values. We only get to have one Mother and each of us should cherish the moments together when you can, for in the end all you will have are the memories. My Mother left her beloved Germany when Hitler took over the country and came to America at a very young age. She married a man from Norway and gave birth to 8 children. Six of us made it through the birth. My Mother, Hedwig Reidle passed away at the age of 98 two years ago and her ashes are now in the family plot in the Black Forest of Germany.

    All we have is our memories now,So Mr.Hunt be thankful for the time, because we only get one good Mother in our life and she has given you much love and respect.

    Carl Johansen

    Doing a little philosophy this morning and I thank you for keeping my memories alive.

  2. Randy: Your tribute to your Mom brings into focus the wide swath of personal destruction cut by Alzheimer’s disease on the individual, their family and friends. Often termed “the long goodbye,” the gradual loss of memory, of relationships and of the person’s very spirit can cause great sadness within even the most resilient of families. Truly our most valuable and treasured possession is and should be our memories. Thanks for the reminder - Bob


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