I was singing along with Paul McCartney in the Key Food this morning when my voice started to crack.
The supermarket’s sound system was playing “Band on the Run,” the title track from Sir Paul’s 1973 album, which dominated the airwaves back in those ancient times.
My mother knew the song from hearing it repeatedly on her children’s various radios but she managed to mangle the lyrics by singing “Man on the Run.”
I set her straight on her mistake and we had a good laugh over it.
But last week marked the 13th anniversary of her passing and hearing that song today was a sad reminder of the gap I still have in my heart after all this time.
Still, I don’t recommend crying in the produce aisle as you’re liable to upset the other customers.
This was my first full week since returning from vacation in Los Angeles.
The good times are fading quickly from my mind much too quickly as the problems I shoved aside while staying at my uncle’s house were waiting for me as soon as my plane landed at JFK, including a career issue that’s been clinging me to like a Siamese twin for far too long.
I knew I should’ve torn up that return ticket.
One of the things I miss the most from the trip was the morning walks my sister and I used to take around our uncle’s Mount Washington neighborhood. It’s a beautiful hilly area that’s so full of trees it’s hard to believe you’re in a city.
Like You, Mama…
We’d walk by these wonderful homes, trying to decide which one I should buy when—and if—I finally move out to LA. I talked to her about my terror of moving across the country without a job, particularly at my age, and my sister gave me a fantastic bit of advice.
“You should pray,” she said. "Pray to Mom."
Pray to Mom? The thought was totally alien to me. Each morning I pray that both my parents rest in peace, of course, but it had never occurred to reach out to the person who brought me into this world, who showered me with nothing but unconditional love, and ask for her guidance.
The first days back in town were rough, very rough, and I felt like a drowning man. That’s when I prayed to my mother.
I know that she wanted us all to be happy and to stop tearing ourselves down, and asking for her advice reminds of me how much she loved us.
I finally got some encouraging signs on Thursday. Things are still pretty serious, but they’re perhaps not as dire as I had thought and I’m extremely grateful for that tiny bit of daylight in an otherwise very dark place.
This was also the same day that my mother left this world in 2002 and I’m sure many people would say that the good news arriving on this particular date was nothing more than a coincidence. Good for them.
I, on the other hand, intend to take it as a sign that I’ve got somebody very special watching over me.
The rain hasn’t exploded with a mighty crash and I didn’t fall into the sun. And if I ever get out of here and leave New York, I’ll be the man on the run, but I’ll always stay close to Mom.