We have only been driving away for 6 minutes and we have to pull over and turn into a fruit and garden centre. Someone’s diarrhea is acting up.
Mom wants us to stop in Lumby at a “world class” restaurant. It’s always packed she says. The cook is “international” she says. My Caesar salad looks like it came out of can and the yam fries didn’t come at all. Moms nine-bean and bacon soup seemed fine though. My bro’s battered prawns on his salad were…I cannot even finish this paragraph. It is too boring.
We get to the fishing cabin on the lake and they are not expecting us. The owner’s wife starts yelling at her husband for being forgetful. She mentions that our cabin had a load of fishermen in it last night and for some reason the place had a thick layer of grease all over everything.
It will take a while to clean up.
While we wait my brother pees behind a tree.
We wander around.
We finally get inside and I am sick with a cold so my mother puts a tea cozy on my head.
My mother tells my brother to make her bed. She has decided to sleep on the top bunk even though she is old and cannot climb the ladder and doesn’t sleep well and is restless at night. She thinks this is the best choice for her because “you know your brother always liked the bottom bunk”.
She is saying things to him like “don’t you know how to make a bed? Don’t you know how to tuck in a bed? Don’t you know how to straighten the sheets on a bed? ” in a high pitched ear piercing drone. We both want to throw her off the bed.
A conversation we just had:
Grum: Mom there is a bear outside.
Mom: Okay, we have to get all the coolers outside in. We have to close the car doors.
Mom starts putting on her shoes to hobble outside
Grum: No mom, I’m kidding. There is no bear.
Mom- We have to shut the windows. Did you leave the hotdog on the porch? That’s what did it I bet. Did you see it?
Grum: Mom, I said there is no bear. I was kidding.
Mom- We can pee in a cup or a jar inside tonight. No need going out there if there is a bear wandering around.
Emelia- For fuck sakes mom. There is no BEAR!
Mom- Don’t be rude.
As we ride in the boat alone together I ask him if he would rather be a bird or a fish? He said he wants to be a bird so that he can fly.
We are looking at little ducks in the water the next day and my brother asks our mom the same thing.
She say’s she wants to fly too. That explains a lot. I am the only fish in the family.
And then my brother catches a fish. A tiny one. I start to cry.
On the way back home my mother tells my brother to teach her how to drive the motorboat. “No” we say quickly. “Why?” we ask. “Because if the weather turns bad and you both fall in the water and drown and I have to get the boat back to shore I need to know how to drive it” she responds.
Definition of love:
Doing things for people that you really don’t want to do but you do anyway.
Ie: Canoeing in the rain.
Ie: Playing scrabble.
Ie: Putting on a tea cozy when you are 34 because your mother doesn’t want you to catch a cold.
I learned that we are a 3-letter word scrabble playing family.
We walk down the trail, steeling ourselves against the frigid water. My mother keeps saying “is this worth it? Is jumping in this late in the fall really worth it?”
I jump in. I dunk 9 times for 3 wishes, 3 dunks per wish.
1. I wish for my moms health.
2. I wish for a family of my own one day.
3. I wish for my moms health again (just to be sure).
It takes my brother a bit longer to jump in. “Did you dunk 3 times?” I ask.
“Yeh” he answers “It was so cold I forgot to pray for my wish”
“No you didn’t” I say, “it is done.”
We sneak outside around the back of the cabin when mom is asleep to secret smoke. I have pot in mine. He chugs a beer. We giggle together in the darkness. It’s amazing to me how two adults so quickly become two children again.
I was mean to my brother when we were young. I have spent my entire adult life trying to make up for it.
I’m still wearing the damn tea cozy on my head. My mom was right. It is keeping me warm.