A friend sent a rough draft of the memoir he is writing – in one chapter he writes about my Mom – especially about those last months. Tomorrow would have been Mom’s 81st birthday. I’ve been reminiscing … she was a beautiful lady, generous, smart, and funny!
In the latter years of her life she had a number of ailments, leukemia, arthritis, diabetes, even hearing loss. Even with the pain and malaise, she could tell very funny stories. One of those stories has been on my mind this week. I can see the family gathered around the table, and hear someone say, “Hey mom, tell us about the peacocks!” She would chuckle, her eyes would glisten, and she would start in on the story.
“Well,” she would say, “we went down to Diane’s condo in Florida not too long ago.” (Diane is Mom’s niece and dear friend!).
“We had a good day and then it was time for bed. It was late, and I had just fallen asleep when I was awakened with screeching and squawking! I checked the clock, it was midnight. I shook your dad and asked, ‘Do you hear that noise?’ Your dad got up, checked around the condo, and reported that he found nothing. Well it was awful, but it stopped and we went back to sleep.
She stopped a minute, and chuckled. You could tell from her face that the story was funny to her. She continued, “The next night, we were in bed, and we couldn’t believe it, right at midnight, that awful screeching and squawking happened again! I shook your dad, and asked, ‘Do you imagine that Diane is playing a prank on us somehow?’ Again, your Dad got up checked around the house, didn’t find anything … and we went to sleep.”
“The next morning while your Dad was out walking, he talked to the neighbors. He told them about the loud noises at night and asked if they had any idea what it could be. We had seen quite a few peacocks wandering around the condo complex. The neighbor said the peacocks make a lot of noise during mating season and maybe that’s what we were hearing. When your Dad told me this I thought that was really unfortunate!”
“Anyway, we were having fun at the beach, enjoying the sun and surf, especially enjoying the fishing. On the next night, (she would shake her head), those peacocks started shrieking again … exactly midnight … and said to your dad, ‘I wish those peacocks would just mate and get it over with!'”
Mom was laughing by now, and laughter being contagious, the rest of us would join her.
“So while we had a good time, we were tired, and it was time to head home. We drove a while, and decided to stop in a hotel. I mentioned to your dad that I was looking forward to a full night’s rest! So, you can imagine my surprise and disgust even when the shrieking, squawking and screeching started again. I looked at your dad and said, ‘Surely you didn’t pack any of those peacocks did you?’ I was frustrated and looked at my watch. As I looked at my watch, yes, midnight, the screeching took on a different tone … and I realized that the alarm on my watch was ‘ringing!'”
Now both my Dad and Mom were in laughing hard! Mom continued, “All this time, it was my watch alarm that was ringing … every night at midnight! And I didn’t even know it!”
I can’t do the story justice; you had to be at the dinner table watching Mom as she told the story, choosing just the right words, pausing for effect, smirking turning to giggles turning to guffaws.
Mom, I know you are in Heaven … enjoying the sights and sounds. Nothing pleased you more than singing praises to your Lord. I bet you’ve told the peacock story to the saints around you … spreading your contagious joy even in eternity!
Blessings, Mom! Happy Birthday!