My mother would have been eighty years old today. I would not be a copyeditor if not for her. She taught me how to figure out whether to use I or me in a sentence. She got me to read Jane Austen when I was 13. And always, always she corrected my grammar.
If she were alive, this blog would show a more sophisticated vocabulary. I would have had to stretch my writing abilities rather than drop the f-bomb all the time. I would use vocabulary rather than profanity for emphasis.
My mother always told me I was too flip when I wrote papers for high school. (She was right.) But she had a wry sense of humor and what my cousin calls a steely glint in her eye. I believe this blog is an appropriate outlet for “flipness,” and I would tell that to her face if I could.
She taught me how to bake bread from scratch, and to scorn store-bought pie crusts. She was a bit of a snob. Once, when I was an adult, she said to me “Sometimes when I listen to myself, I think who uses these kinds of words,” and I told her it was OK, I liked how she talked.
One of my mother’s strengths was that she faced things head on. It’s something I could still learn from her. If I had a penny for every time she said to me “in the amount of time you spent arguing about this, you could have been done by now,” I could buy a new car.
She didn’t like Indian food or brussel sprouts (maybe she never had them as DP makes them, with bacon and vinegar). Her pork chops and thick stews with greens and sausage were to die for. Her favorite composers were Bach and Mozart. She was knew how to play the organ, but I think I only ever heard her playing the piano. She taught me how to pour beer into a glass without getting too much foam.
She knew DP, but died just before we got married. When I told her we were engaged she said “What took you so long?”
One of my favorite things I heard her say was the time she called to the dog, who was running loose in the field and ignored her. She turned to me and said (with that steely glint) “For all my force of will, I can’t even get my own dog to listen to me.”