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March/April 2007

Dear Madrone,

My mother, knock on wood, is doing OK in the health department considering she's pushing 90. But what can I say, the wool is beginning to gather where there aren't any sheep. I mean, she can't remember from one day to the next, this one's phone number or that one's arrangement to go to the Costco with her for end of month specials on bulk Contadina crushed tomatoes, or what I, her son, do for a living. But when I took her to the doctor, she was sharp as a frigging tack. Every medicine, for each ailment, on lists, with dates, and costs, as well as the tests she had to take, their results, which doctor looked where, inside and out. In other words, it was like Web MD, but personal, for her.

When I started in on my thought that she was losing it mentally, the doc gave me the hairy eyeball, like I had it in for my own mother, trying to trump up some reason to put her away, and get an early hand on my inheritance. He asked me if she was forgetting stuff or just confused, but he asked it with such a look that I completely blanked and couldn't say.

Which only made him give me the complete brush off, said check back in six months, and take notes next time, so I would know what I was doing. Which wouldn't be so aggravating, but when we went to the White Castle for a burger afterwards, she looked at me and asked when we were going to the doctors, was it smart to be eating before her exam. Now I ask you, what am I supposed to do with that?

Is it me, or is it her? East Stroudsburg

Dear Is it,

It's her. What you have here, and most doctors can't tell you about this, unless they've had mothers of their own, is a case of convenient amnesia. The person who has this, forgets things they want to forget. And they REALLY forget them, no joke. Once my own mother, who suffered the slightest of knocks on the head, I swear the other car barely scraped mine, it was NOT my fault, right after I had taken her to the movie with my mother-in-law (don't ask) , forgot the movie completely forgot the mother in law was with us (aggravated), forgot my daughter had a boyfriend, forgot I had a dog, forgot her own sister was no longer among the living, yet could pin point exactly in what part of her purse we could find her credit card, and that I should keep my hands off of it. All the while reminding me that...

Dear Madrone,

I know you like to print amusing stories from time to time.Here's one that I think will give you a real tickle. Still laughing my a**off, Fort Tyler,

About a month ago, my two neighbors made a bet over who could get the best deal on a used Monte Carlo. They went to the local dealer, who happens to be my nephew's godson, which they didn't know, but that's how I found out about all this, and made their pitches. Now the first neighbor, who is quite the glamour girl was able to get a very nice deal, which didn't exactly include a dinner date with the salesman, but didn't exclude one either. The other neighbor, who is a lug, but good hearted, could not compete, and lost the bet. So they got married. Isn't that something?

Dear Fort, You should be put away, but in a place where they'll be nice to you. God bless, Donna

Madrone's wisdom set to music! Be sure to check out "Dinner with Donna!"



Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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