We had so much fun on Mother’s Day. I was with my spirit-mom, Annelies. She’s not my real mother, but if I could pick one, she’d be it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bio-mom, but she’s always felt more like a friend than a mother. So when I walked into Annelies’ house one day, and she looked me dead in the eye and said to me in her Swiss accent, I am a Native American, and without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, me too. And there was nothing more we needed to say.
We had Mother’s Day brunch at her son’s house, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and zucchini, homemade waffles, potatoes and bacon, and Swiss style yogurt with fruit and muesli. We ate way too much, but it sure was good. Things got a little tense around the table when Annelies decided to start lecturing her son’s girlfriend’s aunt about why it’s important not to spoil children. The aunt held her own but it was clear that they came from different perspectives. I took the road of greatest challenge and decided to see if I could make friends with the girlfriend’s impenetrable and entitled son. I found him inside the house, prowling, a growl of indignation seemed to hiss from his pores. Somehow I got him talking about school and playing soccer and his friends and drawing comics, and he came back outside and sat down with everyone, feeling looser and more content, but then his mom said something that pushed him and he clammed back up and went inside again. Oh well. I tried. I liked the kid now, he’d opened up to me, and I now felt responsible for his wellbeing. Annelies wanted to play a game that was like gin rummy meets scrabble, but no one knew the rules, and it didn’t seem to bother anyone except for Annelies and me, so we left soon after. As we passed through the gate, we made secret circle-halos above our heads, because we had had to be on good behavior all morning and we couldn’t stand it a minute longer.
I wanted a tiny shelf for my bathroom, so her son suggested a cigar box, and Annelies wanted wool to knit baby booties. So after brunch, we headed to Dharma Trading for wool and it took the shop ladies about 20 minutes to direct us to the wool we wanted. They let us look at every kind of wool in the store until Annelies was nearly having a meltdown and we were ready to give up and leave and then they finally showed us the wool we had asked for in the beginning. Neither of us understood their tactic, but we decided to be kind instead of cranky. Well, Annelies was cranky because she couldn’t decide on which colors or gauge of wool she wanted, and she was already pissy from the brunch, and it turns out she hadn’t really wanted to go out today. She would’ve rather everyone came to her house, after all, it’s Mother’s Day, why should she have to effort. So I had to be the niceguy, otherwise we would’ve gotten in a spat with the wool ladies.
While we were looking for our wool, I fell in love with two ponchos. One thick and warm, the other thin and airy, more like a shrug. Annelies said she could knit them, so I picked out colors I liked in merino wool and Annelies perused the patterns. By the time we left, not only did we have the wool ladies laughing, but one of them gave Annelies her friend’s number who has a ceramics kiln she is giving away for free, the old kind, the kind without computers for brains, the kind Annelies used to have, the kind she likes. We walked out with two bags of wool; yes sir, yes sir, two bags full.
Next we headed to the tobacco store for a cigar box. There was a big crate of boxes on the front porch of the shop. It said $6/box. We thought that was ridiculous. We thought they should be either free or a buck each. Annelies went in to bargain to no avail while I picked through the boxes. I found a natural color one that would make a good shelf, a red one for keeping my tarot cards in, and a black one for my friend Yzzy, who I knew would love it for her art or weed or jewelry.
I walked into the store and caught the owner’s eye and ear by saying, hey, it smells like tobacco in here! He laughed. I said, you got a deal for three of these? He said, it’s half-price day. I said, sold.
Annelies and I were kind of mesmerized by the store and the smell of tobacco, and I think the guys in the store were mesmerized by us, by seeing women in the store at all, especially two such unique women. Annelies, a tiny firecracker of a pixie-crone, and me, a tall, lean gazelle with a playful candor and a luminescent smile.
I felt a little altered from the secondhand tobacco smoke. I got a feel for why the Native Americans used it. I felt grounded and calm. It was a masculine medicine and I liked it. I wanted to go over and join the men on the couches who sat quietly, thoughtfully, smoking their pipes, watching TV, and sleeping. I wanted to sit and smoke and snooze in an armchair on a Sunday afternoon in May. Annelies felt the same and we took it all in together, and eventually when we’d had our fill, we walked out with our boxes, our nerves cool from tobacco.
We were about to get into the car, when Annelies found some amazing seedpods on the ground under the huge magnolia tree in front of the shop. The smallest of the seedpods looked just like big pipe cleaners. I said, hey these are big pipe cleaners, huh? She laughed because she thought they looked just like pipe cleaners too. We collected a bunch for art and decor. Then Annelies wanted to show the store owner how the seedpods outside his shop look just like pipe cleaners. We went in and showed him, but he wasn’t as impressed as we were. That’s ok. We collected some more from the tiniest ones to the biggest ones, and we went off with our loot, elated and giggling about how we can be so happy, just having fun together, doing anything, being ourselves, and finding the simplest gifts from nature that to us are treasures from the great mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all.