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Six Stories About My Mom At the Pub

June 12th, 2007

1) We used to always babysit for my cousin Ralphie while Mom and her sister Kay-Kay went out. They’re getting their purses, pulling on their coats, and Ralphie, who is 3 or so at the time, calls out, “You going to No Dogs or the Leaky Roof?” (Two popular tavs at the time. No Dogs Allowed had pictures of dogs on the bathroom doors and two signs: Pointers and Setters. None of us kids could figure out why this was so funny to the grown-ups.)

“We’re going shopping!” they hissed at him.

“Really?” he asked, looking a little baffled.

2) Then there was the time she told me about the guitar player who was entertaining at the pub that night. He sang “Sympathy for the Devil,” an acoustic version, and this table of revelers provided the “woo-woo’s” in all the right places. It became a mission of mine — to find the perfect night, the perfect pub, the perfect crowd. You can spend a lot on dinner, drinks and dancing, but the woo-woo chorus? Priceless.

3) Then there was the Mountain Moving Cafe, this all-ages lesbian-gay-hippie bar (no, seriously. I mean, how great is that?) we used to go to when I was about, 11-12? My friends were all too eager to go because hello? None of us had ever seen women french kiss each other before. Or men. We’d barely seen heteros french kiss. No, really. And they danced, and we danced, and we’d have drinks (just Cokes for us; booze for the adults) and it was righteous.

Also everyone smoked dope. It smelled great in there.

My friends: “When is your mom going to take us to that place again?”

And over the doorway that led into the adjoining bookstore? A print of a woman’s legs, cross-section, and she was inserting a tampon. Ewwwwwwww!!! My mom: “What’s the big deal, anyway?”

4) So a convention of morticians walks into the room… No, seriously. My mom and I were at the beach. I was barely legal. The morticians wanted to chat. And my mom was all too happy to engage them in some scintillating conversation.

“When did you decide to become a mortician?” was her opener. Oh. My. God. OH MY GOD! I made her leave with me and to this day I regret it.

5) My high school boyfriend and I were Dark and Introspective. We’d both lost our fathers, a year apart (mine to suicide — he was schizophrenic; his to heart attack — he was only 38). We liked to party. But we also liked to stay home, make waffles, and watch Speed Racer with my little sister. One night we were staying in, and for no good reason decided to drink an entire case of Hamm’s, just the two of us. Jesus, were we loaded. So when “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” came on at midnight, we decided to stay up and watch it.

This was not such a hot idea. We’re drunk. He’s crying over my dad, I’m crying over his dad, we’re crying over our own dads. We’re both worried, What if we go crazy, like poor Kathleen Quinlan. It could happen. Then my mom gets home, after the bar closes. She’s in her honky-tonkin’ phase — she’s dressed really cute and has on boots. She’s all “Yee-haw!” down to the basement, gets a load of us and is all, “What the hell’s wrong with you two?”

6) We always tease her about going to the Rovon Inn. “Where’s mom, anyway?” “She just roved on in” or “Call the Rovon — it’s happy hour.” But truly? She doesn’t even drink anymore! She stopped a long time ago. Go figure.

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