By Neal Simon
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What can we say about you today, moms, that has not been said before?
Actually, as a professional newspaper columnist, it’s my job — with deadline only about 30 minutes away and no column filed yet — to answer that question. Quickly.
I’m dreaming, if I think this is going to be easy.
For most men, no one will ever cook and bake as well as our moms did. Even if we’re married to Martha Stewart or Giada De Laurentiis (not likely), our wives are no match for our mom in the kitchen. And mom never lied to federal investigators and spent a spell in prison.
Moms made sure we never went outdoors at night without a jacket, “because it’s getting a little chilly,” they worried, even though it was the Fourth of July.
Moms cheer the loudest at our baseball games*, wrestling meets, flute recitals, chess matches (that’s a no-no) and graduation ceremonies.
*When we were at the plate and the pitcher delivered a ball so far from the strike zone that it sailed over the backstop and we didn’t swing, mom still yelled “good eye” even though Kareem Abdul-Jabbar couldn’t have reached the ball with his bat.
Moms have superhero-like powers. Experts say a woman is changed forever when they become a mom, and I know that’s true. Instantly, they are empowered with a form of radar that allows them to locate and restore lost or misplaced items — toys, chewing gum, textbooks, lunch pails, 20-dollar bills, our confidence — within just a few moments. (Strangely, this power has no effect on lost Scotch tape, especially when a kid’s birthday party starts in 10 minutes and a present has to be wrapped.)
Moms never ask for gas money. Ever. Not for rides to the movies, or school, or practice, or your friend’s house, or to work, or any of the 23,467 places she’ll drive you between the ages of 5 and 17.
Unlike dads, moms are prepared for any contingency. They always have bug spray, sun block, a change of clothes, extra hair ties and emergency snacks. Dad is lucky if he went out with matching socks.
Thinking about our moms has me considering some famous moms from history and how much better our moms are and were.
Joan Crawford, the movie star and book subject who had a strange aversion to wire closet hangers, makes all moms look wonderful by comparison, and she reminds us that the “cruelest” thing our mom ever did was make us finish our homework.
Is it a woman or a bird? And what’s with the bonnet?
A key member of the Mamas & the Papas: lush harmonies, a voice that helped define and mythologize California in the ‘60s. Actually, a pretty great lady and the beloved mother of three.
The smash hit by the Swedish pop group ABBA, which was later turned into a popular stage musical and film, is certainly a fun song and it has catchy and deep lyrics like “Just one look and I can hear a bell ring/one more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh/.” Still, “Mamma Mia” wasn’t even released as a single originally, and when modern moms rock out while doing the dishes they are much more likely to crank up “Dancing Queen.” Or so I have heard.
You remember the winter we just went through? Enough said.
Which brings us back to Mama Cass Elliot and a song she covered beautifully, “Dream a little dream of me.”
Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me
I think of my mom when I hear that verse, and I am reminded that a mother’s love is eternal, enduring forever in our hearts, in our memories and in our dreams.
Neal Simon is the city editor of the Hornell Evening Tribune.
NEAL SIMON: Dream a little dream of mom
By Neal Simon