“March 30: Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?”
“Listen to your wife, she’s a mother!” the Old Girl whispered in my ear as our hug finished before we parted.
I was down the porch steps and halfway across the sidewalk, before I realized what she had said. Puzzled, I turned and looked back at her wide-eyed, expecting her to finish her fractured sentence.
She shook her head, smiled and waved with her arm stretched overhead, so that my sons, MiLady (my new bride) and her daughter, Paige, could see her 4foot9 frame from our vehicle parked on the street.
“Toodles!” she called out sing-songy.
Bewildered, I returned to the van and my family. As they waved goodbye to Grams, I plotted the quickest route home in my head. It would be a long seven days.
Once upon the highway, the lads took to their books and hand-held games. Heart played music on her mp3 player. MiLady and I welcomed the quiet, but she looked at me concerned.
“Are you alright, my Darling?”
“Yes,” I nodded, concentrating on the eight lanes of one-way traffic, squeezing into four to make room for the repair teams tar-patching the north-side lanes.
“What was it that your mother told you, just then?”
“I am not sure how you will take it,” was my answer.
Oh,” she said, straightening in her seat. “That bad?”
“She called you a mother …”
“Daddy said a bad word!” Chef sang out loud and clear.
“No, he didn’t,” Junior and Captain defended, which erupted into a maddening crescendo lasting three minutes. “He did!” in Chef’s shrill falsetto with his brothers’ alto and soprano duet of “Did not!”
MiLady ended the impromptu performance swiftly. The silent audience of Paige and I thanked her warmly.
The lads resumed their reading or game playing, while Heart returned to her music.
My new wife leaned towards me. “What did she say exactly?”
“She told me to listen to you.”
“Okay,” MiLady paused. “I like that. What else?”
“That’s when she called you a mother,” I winced, preparing myself for injury.
“Oh.” My bride sat back in her chair, watching the traffic flow.
“PLANE!” screamed Chef suddenly, pointing against the glass of his tinted window.
“Look!” Captain cried, “there’s another one!”
The lads, Paige and MiLady all maneuvered to see the wide assortment of passenger aircraft coming and going.
“You can identify what airline they belong to,” I said, “by looking at their tail fin or rudder.”
Paige and my sons were mesmerized, but MiLady resumed her face-front position and began to white-knuckle the arm rests of her chair.
When we cleared the maddening collector lanes of Toronto and we found a rest stop for something to eat, I asked her if she was alright.
“Those planes looked like they were dive bombers!” she answered.
I drew her close and hugged her, to save myself from any harm because of the wide grin on my face. I could tell at that moment, she was raised as “a country mouse” compared to my “city mouse” upbringing.
Once back on the highway, MiLady, Paige and the lads fell asleep.
“Listen to your wife, she’s a mother!” I repeated quietly to myself with a smirk, braving uncertain Death.
I do not know what could be more dangerous then driving home on my honeymoon, in a vehicle with four young people wide-eyed to discovery and a new wife, who is a white-knuckled co-pilot … for the next seven days! And to add to the uncertainty, just how well will my French-born Misses accept Irish humour and sarcasm?
This coming July (2018) will be fifteen years since that cross-country trip, and I believe my girl has faired extremely well. She’s even discovered her own wicked sense of humour, and there are days (not many) that she catches me unaware.