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April 24, 2009
My mother was an expert at exaggeration. If something could be exaggerated,
Mom could do it.
“If you don’t eat your green beans you won’t grow up to be big and strong,”
she’d tell me every night at the dinner table.
So I ate my green beans. Lots of green beans. Tons of green
But, alas, I didn’t grow up to be big or strong. I grew up to be
small. And weak.
When it came to edibles, my mother had a way of blowing things totally out
of proportion, especially if her only child was involved. Mom insisted I eat
eggs, peas, beets, spinach, oatmeal and about 3,000 other really
She felt the same way about medications. When it came to keeping me healthy,
my mother was Florence Nightingale. A simple case of the sniffles for me
became the bubonic plague for Mom.
“Was that a sneeze I heard?” she’d ask, and before I had time to answer
she’d haul out enough drugs to stock a hospital emergency room and pour me a
tall glass of water.
We never saw eye-to-eye on breakfast cereals, either. I loved
sinfully-sweet cereals that came in boxes that contained prizes like secret
code rings and little pens that supposedly wrote in invisible ink, which,
when I look back, was really kind of stupid because if you wrote a note in
invisible ink, nobody would be able to read it because it was written in . .
. duh! . . . invisible ink.
Mom, however, made me eat cereals that tasted a lot like old
My mother has been gone for 20 years now, but some of her convoluted sayings
still come rolling back to me across the years like friendly ghosts from the
past, like the one I heard one day when I was 11 and playing what appeared
to her to be a dangerous game with some of my friends in my yard.
She threw open the back door and shouted, “If you break your
leg, don’t come running to me!”
I never have figured that one out . . .
Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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