Big Is Your iPod?
has been twenty years since my mother died, and during that time,
the world has changed a lot. Before my mother died, she spent
two weeks in a coma, and being a person who tries to recreate
the past, I have often wondered what it would be like if she had
remained in that coma and suddenly woke up, twenty years later.
The scene might go something like this: There she lies, comatose
in her bed, when out of the blue she springs up, rips out her
nose cord and says, Well good night, Hon! You look old as
the hills! Go get me my L&Ms!
Crisis! While it would be easy enough to update her on "As
the World Turns," since the original cast is still kicking
and the plot never changes, telling her the cigarette company
no longer makes L&Ms would be unthinkable.
Dumbfounded, I stare at her with my mouth open, and she says,
And while youre at it, fix me a cup of coffee. And
WHERE is your father?
At this point Id turn off the fan because the load that
has just hit it will go splat right in my face. Where on earth
would I begin to fill her in on the past twenty years? Like many
Southern women of the fifties generation, she preferred escape
and diversion over the truth, and through her, I had mastered
these tactics myself.
I look at her and ask, Mama, how big is your iPod?
She rolls her eyes up toward the ceiling and says, Are you
still making up words? I do believe you will drive me crazy. And
you know I dont like to talk in the mornings before Ive
had my coffee. Just let me have a little swig and then Ill
talk to you.
I hand her a cup of coffee and she blows on it twice and takes
a big swig. Ahhhh, she says. Im feeling
a little better now. She looks around the room and asks
the dreaded question, Where in the world am I?
Sticking with my quest to avoid the truth, I say, Dont
you remember? Were in Honolulu. We flew out here on a whim,
just the two of us, and you tried to surf, like you always wanted
to do. Had a little accident, though, and youve been asleep
for a few days.
She takes another swig of her coffee and says, Hmmmph. Well,
I guess Im alive. Are Bob and Lisa back together?
No, I sigh. "Bob is still married to Kim, but
they seem happy. I cannot force myself to tell her the "As
the World Turns" theme song has changed.
Again, she looks at me. Why do you have wrinkles?
she asks. "Are you using your Pond's Cold Cream?"
The suns been a little hard on me, I guess. Plus,
Ive been drinking pina coladas and eating coconut cream
pie while youve been recovering.
Well I do hope you havent been running around in that
bikini again, she says. With our luck well run
into the preacher out here. And you never did answer my question,
WHERE IS YOUR FATHER?
I have two options here, and either one will send her back into
a coma. I can tell her he is at work, which is something akin
to Paris Hilton becoming a nun, or I can tell her he married a
younger woman with children of her own, and that she thinks he
hung the moon.
Hes here, I say. He just stepped out for
a walk on the beach. Hell be back in a little while.
Hmmmph, she says again.
Mama, I say, Go back to sleep. Youve been
through a lot and you need to get your rest.
She closes her eyes and just before dozing off, she says, I
might just do that. But wake me up when 'As the World Turns' comes
I will, I say, as I fluff her pillow and tuck her
in tight. I promise.
Lee Pollock (Gillen) writes "Random Lives," a bi-monthly
column, as well as feature stories for The Daily Herald in Columbia,
Tennessee. She serves on the Editorial Committee of the Maury
County Archives, and she is a member of ASCAP. She has published
her first book, Will the Real Anonymous Mother Please Stand
Up? written under the pen name Julia Lee.
Julia Lee Pollock