The ever-fabulous brimful graciously picked me up for dinner and afterwards drove me to the airport. We stopped for dinner at Bombay Garden (Aside: are Indian restaurants going the way of Chinese restaurants? Can you just "mad lib" it? One from Column A: Bombay, India, Curry, Indian, Maharaj; and one from Column B: Garden, Palace, Village, House.)
During our free-ranging (not like chicken) conversation, I was reminded that I promised y'all stories of my mom, the Jedi Ninja. So, here is installment one. I lived with my parents for a few months after I graduated from college. My parents have wonderful fruit trees in the backyard, but don't collect the fruit. (The one year we sprayed for worms, we ended up with a bumper crop of apples: baked apples, apple pie, applesauce, etc. etc. I couldn't eat an apple for years.) The backyard abuts about 60 acres of parkland, so we also get fauna traversing the yard: deer, fox, rabbits, etc. etc. My mom is very attached to the groundhogs that live just over our property line. They come up and gorge on the apples that have fallen to the ground.
This particular summer, my mom hadn't seen the groundhogs for a few days and she was convinced they were slowly starving because there were no apples on the ground. Most people would think "they're animals, they'll find a way", right? Nope, Mom decided that the groundhogs needed to have apples plucked from the tree and dropped on the ground. And the person doing the plucking? Yeah, that would be me. It wasn't enough that she was sending me off into the hot, wet blanket of August in DC - no, no - she declared that the groundhogs would not eat apples I had picked with my bare hands because they would be able to smell me. So she made me wear dishwashing gloves. DISHWASHING GLOVES! I do not wear dishwashing gloves to actually WASH dishes because I find them so uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I headed out into the swelter armed to the elbow in bright yellow dishwashing gloves.
I thought the flesh on my forearms might just melt away like the fat in those 80s infomercials about "slimming belts." But, I did it - I plucked apples while wearing latex gloves in August because my mom had commanded it. I don't know how she does it, the miracle of "Mom voice." She asks me to do the most unreasonable things, I protest, sometimes vociferously - but it still gets done. She has this power over our family, of course, but also over her coworkers and strangers as well. Mom doesn't open doors - they are opened for her, even by people carrying packages. I think she has cultivated an air about her. Or she's using Jedi mind tricks. Showing my true geekosity: if someone told me she was a Bene Gesserit, I'd believe it.
The best is the aftermath: a few days after the "forearm-reducing" episode, I was having a cuppa in the kitchen and saw a groundhog that had climbed into the branches of an apple tree and was jumping up and down to dislodge fruit. Yeah, the hairy beasts did NOT need my help. When I pointed this out to my mom, she, as usual, thought it was kind of funny that I had put myself out on her directive for something that so, so did not need to happen.
Next time: when little brothers and moms collide!