Who needs Doris Day?

April 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

I am driving down Main Street with my sister Leigh Ann. “Did you see that?” she says. “No, I’m driving,” I say. “That license plate says April 3.” We both know this is my mother’s birthday, and we take it as a sign. We decide, after consulting Leigh Ann’s friend Lou, that it means we should celebrate my mother’s birthday, instead of marking the day she died. In other words, nothing has changed. She wants a party.

We are used to signs. There are markers through my days of what I interpret to be messages: cars, words on billboards, songs, menu items, an old man’s glasses. It doesn’t take much. My great grandmother read playing cards, but only some of the time, because she was Baptist. My mom introduced us to psychics and tarot when I was a kid. My dad didn’t really believe in all that, but he, a math major, played the lottery. I may not be very religious, but I am some kind of believer, from a long line of believers.

I have dreamt of my mom, and she is usually at the beach, tan and covered in sand, which is no surprise.  We used to call her “Shake and Bake.” If there is a heaven, that is hers.  I have been “seeing” signs of her around lately, and I decide it’s because of her birthday.  Leigh Ann and I usually spend the significant days of my parents’ lives together, often at a French restaurant, which they would have liked, or getting our toes done in some gaudy color my mom would have approved of.  We make plans to be together April 3rd.

I am cooking Monday night and listening to the radio. I hear, on NPR, that April 3rd is Doris Day’s 88th birthday, and it pisses me off that my mom would have been 68, and Doris has had twenty more years than her, and counting.  Who the hell needs Doris Day? She might have been the very downfall of my mother, a bad role model for a young perfectionist. She was the purveyor of an impossible happiness.

I have a strange talent for remembering birthdays, even those of people I don’t know very well. Jeff doesn’t understand my fixation, but he is the baby boy, so what would he know? In a family of five girls, you get one day a year when you are the center of attention. One day of recognition, of acting the favorite. No one hates it when you remember their birthday.

Yesterday, technically April 3rd, at midnight, I get on facebook to see what people have to say about Kentucky winning the NCAA championship, something I am interpreting as a gift either to or from my mother. I grew up a UK fan, and I love a lot of people who still love the Cats, including my mom and dad.  I see, to my surprise, that I have not only posted, but sent a special card to my mom. I know there are computer programs that make these things up in some attempt to gain information, but I did not do this. I have never done this and well, my mom’s facebook page has been a little, um,  dormant for the past year. I am so freaked out, I immediately delete the card without clicking on it. I immediately regret this, but it is already gone.

I guess this is a sign she wants a card. She wants to be remembered. Happy Birthday, Mom.

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§ 2 Responses to Who needs Doris Day?

  • I love your writing but I also need Doris Day! She has been my “American Idol” since the 50’s. I didn’t get to know your Mom well but I know she would agree there is still a need for Doris day. Much love to you and your sisters and my prayers that you live back through all of you good memories of your Mom and Dad.
    Aunt Phyllis

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