I just posted a photograph of my Mom on my blog and got to thinking of our adventures together. She’s swell, funny and a great companion.
She is aging and slowing down… and doesn’t like that her brain is slower. I can understand the frustration – she taught herself Russian and Hindi – so she knows darn well what her brain can do. She is an expert birdwatcher and even invited me to remote-remote-remote Attu Island (way at the western edge of the Alaska Aleutian Peninsula) where we had a blast.
One of my favorite moments of being on Attu with Mom is this:
We were in a group of around 50 expert birdwatchers and I was the 20-something hanger-on. We stayed in a decrepit wooden coast guard building and slept in our sleeping bags on rickety bunk beds. We got around on old one-speed bicycles and were expected to ride them in the snow remaining from a storm a while back. Saw the leftovers of World War II military detritus, including Japanese equipment–you may remember that the Japanese occupied Attu during WWII.
I got ill pretty quickly after landing – some kind of respiratory ailment. One morning I lay in my top bunk and just couldn’t face the long trudge up the hill to breakfast. I dozed and coughed and wheezed. After a bit, folks began to return to the bunkhouse to get ready for a morning of birding. Mom came back too and she brought a plate of food for me! I sat up and dug in.
One of our roommates was wandering by to her own bunk and saw me eating in bed. She asked, “Hey, how come you get breakfast in bed?” I replied, “Because I brought my Mommy!”
So, thank you for the smiles and gentle reminders to find the optimism.