Ode to My Mom

Ode to My Mom
Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020
By Holly Jacobson

You were not a Kool-Aid mom.
No grape jelly. No white bread.
Ugly peanut butter, ugly brown apple butter.
I was a lunch room outcast.
And now I know.
You were right.

Hanging like a sunset, a mosquito aquarium
Heavy orchard air.
And those bushels. We filled them heavy,
sneaking bites.
Sweet juice running down my chin, spilling on my flower printed dress.
Better than that was waiting at home.
Taking turns on the hand cranked ice cream maker.
I was always given the first few cranks.
The burden heavier with each turn.
Then “the men” took over.

And at the end, I could lick the paddle.
Summer days at the farm.
Where the daily anxiety of my eyes melted into pure joy.
The ritual of it all.

All my happiest childhood memories are food memories.
That was always our time together.
The drive in for rootbeer floats.
There is no substitute for a frosted mug.
You, barely out of high school.
Should have been recently groomed at the Sorority like your parents planned.
But no, you were with me, my dimpled hand holding the baby frosted mug.
Our time tasted sweet.

Let’s not go back to school.
This was a trip to the drugstore.
Grilled cheese and a cherry limeade for me.
You – a patty melt and a coke.
Oh how I love a counter lunch.
With a box of Russel Stover Turtles to go.
Just you and me.
Happy with our secret.

I think Doctor Sam was downtown.
Every check-up seemed to end at Kaiser’s ice cream parlor.
It was a true parlor.
Tile floors.
Tinned ceilings, tall as trees.

A few fans at the top whirling rhythm.
And a requisite screen door that creaked, jingled, and slammed.
Every time, you ordered pistachio.
Seemed exotic for Oklahoma City in the late 1960s
I must have ordered peach.
Always afraid to stray from the glory of summer.
Always afraid.

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