The Perspicuity of a Good Poem
Enjoy the Early Easter: It's Your Last One

On the Edge of Memory: A Short Conversation

"She's not too pretty.  And she's so old."

"Mama, how old is old?  You're 80."

"I'm talking about feeble, so ditsy you don't even know your own mother.  That's what I mean.  I'm not old like Velma is, Jeanine.  I know who my mother is.  I know who you are.  Old is like. . . like him."  She pointed to her husband, rocked back in the recliner watching football, oblivious to our conversation.

"He's 79, Mama, younger than you."

"Well, if he's so all-fired young he oughta get outa that chair and do something.  Don't you think?

I didn't answer.  It wouldn't make any difference anyway.

"What day is it, Jeanine?"

"Wednesday, Mama."

"Don't I have my Bible study group today?"

"No, that's Tuesday, Mama.  You went yesterday."

"I don't think so.  I don't remember going yesterday."

"I took you, Mama."

"Oh, yeah.  I guess so.  They took my license away, you know.  I don't understand why they did that."

"You had an accident, Mama."

"I don't remember any accident.  I never had a speeding ticket in my life.  I just don't understand it.  I can't drive and yet half the fools out on the road drive worse than I ever did.  That's not right. . . Get my reading glasses, will you Jeanine?"  She picked up the TV Guide. "What day is it Jeanine?"

"Wednesday, Mama."

"Be quiet and turn the TV to Channel 6.  Magnum PI is on.  I like Magnum PI.  One of the only decent things on TV.  Don't worry --- he's asleep.  Look at him over there, drooling on himself.  He'll never miss the game."

We watched TV for awhile, the volume deafening, my mother mouthing the words of Magnum, leaning forward in her chair at rapt attention, slumping back only when the commercial came on.

She shook her head.  "That Velma, she's gettin' old and feeble, you know.  Probably even forgot who her Mama is."

"I know Mama, I know.  It happens."