I think the most important event in my mom's life was when she was about ten years old and her beloved father died in the middle of the war. I think dealing with that enormous heartbreak made her into the woman she was. The whole time I knew her, she always escaped into books in order to deal with the hard things that life put in her way. I got way too many books in my house because of her. I saw her bean my dad once with a can of green beans because he came home drunk. I was hiding behind the couch. I had snuck into the living room in order to watch TV after bedtime. I always felt that it was unfair because my dad worked so long and hard to support us and needed time to blow off steam. I asked her about it when we used to drive around the valley when I wanted to get her out of the house after Dad had died.
She told me the only time he had ever got angry enough to rough her up was when she knocked a glass of whiskey out of his hands in front of his brother and some other men. She told him on the way home that if he ever put hands on her again, she'd leave him and she assured me that she most certainly would have. I asked her if he did, and she looked at me like I was stupid or something because she was sitting right there and knew that I was just asking to be dumb. She told me they got married because they only had each other to turn to, and they had no where else to go. After he got beaned with that can of green beans, Pop suddenly got religion, started going to church, and quit drinking altogether. Things got pretty smooth after that, I assumed they figured they were working for the same team. I guess it's fair to say that what religious training I got was because of them green beans. I knew them sumbitches had to be good for something.
I had always been a cut and run kind of guy when things got too ugly to bear. It drove my wife crazy I know. The fighting that my mom and dad did in front of us when I was young still, to this day, cuts away the ground beneath my feet whenever I hear couples speaking in anger. I would even leave movies in the middle if a man and a woman started fighting in the film. When mom began the process of leaving this material plane, there was a whole lot of ugliness involved, and there were a lot of times I wanted to just run away and lose myself in a book so big that no one would ever find me, but I didn't. I stayed and did a whole lot of things a son should never have to do, and saw things that I'll never be able to forget as long as I live. But I'm glad I did, I was glad I was there and doing those things that needed to be done, and I only wish that I'd been there even more.
Mom used to tell me that time heals all wounds, but I don't believe she really knew. I saw the way her eyes would fill up with water whenever she mentioned her Daddy; that wound still looked kind of fresh to me.