She taught me an old seaman’s trick - how to tie a shoe so that the knot opens easily but doesn’t slip - one brisk fall day on a sidewalk in downtown Shamokin, Pennsylvania.
She told me once that I would need to find a special kind of girl, one who would be able to deal with my peculiarities. At 14 years old I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I’m beginning to understand now, at 39.
She was cutting my hair once on the back patio of our house in Lichtenfels, Bavaria, and although she had just started I asked her if she was already done. With rare hints of anger in her voice, she told me to just sit still and let her work. I taught myself how to cut my own hair soon after that.
Figuring that I would be a bachelor for most of my adult life, she taught me how to mend my clothing with needle and thread as well as how to cook simple but nutritious meals and do laundry.
I learned from her that it’s feasible to ride a bicycle in all sorts of nasty weather.
She cared for me when I was very young and raised me with loving firmness and quick compassion.
She exhibited a profound calm in the face of adversity that I can only hope to mimic, never match.
She said I gave her little difficulty during birth, that I all but slid out, ready to take on the world. My first act was to pee on the doctor.
This is difficult to write. I shall share more soon. Mahalo.
© JPR / whorphan / americanifesto / 場黑麥