Promises, Promises

May 14, 2008

One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.
                          — Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900
                              German philosopher

The comic strip Pickles is popular at our house. (The link is to the particular panel to be discussed here.) It chronicles the domestic life of a retired couple  who, despite being depicted as far older than Ron and I are (well, the woman is!), seem to have the same conversations that sometimes take place here. Our refrigerator is nearly covered with the ones I’ve cut out.  My favorite shows the couple sitting together watching television. The woman says, “Do you have to crack your knuckles like that?” The man replies, “No, I can crack them like this if you prefer.”

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, the strip showed a conversation between the woman, Opal, and her grown daughter, Sylvia.

Opal: Sylvia, guess what I found!
Sylvia: What is it, Mom?
Opal: It’s a coupon book you made for me when you were in fifth grade. See? It’s full of coupons for chores and things you would do for me.
Sylvia: Oh wow!
Opal: This one’s good for helping me with the dishes. This one’s good for a foot massage. Here’s one  for washing my windows. That’s so sweet of you.
Sylvia: What? You don’t mean . . .
Opal (to Sylvia, who is now applying a squeegee to the window): There were no expiration dates.

Mother’s Day came and went here exactly the way I wanted it to. I went to church (Pentecost, celebrating the creative wind of the Holy Spirit, my second favorite biblical image, after the woman at the well) and then took flowers to the grave of Sister Kilian, my tenth grade English teacher, a tradition I have maintained for many years. Then I took a nap, had a delicious dinner (half of my shrimp and asparagus risotto left from Saturday’s graduation celebration at Olive Garden), and did some writing. I received no cards, no gifts, no flowers, because I didn’t want any, and I had made my wishes known. But I did get phone calls and text messages and hugs from Lynn and others from whom a Mother’s Day greeting is important to me. (Lynn once became almost inconsolable because she had the idea that serving me breakfast in bed was an appropriate Mother’s Day gesture and I didn’t want that. That was probably when she learned to creep up to the breakfast table, peer into my coffee mug, and then, if it were down to a particular level, ask quietly, “Is that your second cup?”)

This afternoon, however, while looking for something else, I came upon this:

Lynn's Coupon Book

Isn’t that adorable? She was eight. I took the book apart so you could see some of the specific drawings and the particular promises. Like this one:

Clean My Room Coupon

And I couldn’t find any expiration date!! Lynn, if you’re reading, do you see that one in the middle up there? I was in your room today. Yes, it’s still your room. That’s the first coupon I’d like to redeem.  Get to that before you turn 23 and I’ll let you skip the car wash!

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3 thoughts on “Promises, Promises

  1. And here I go again….misty-eyed with the memories that your musings magically conjure up within me…and happy to discover yet another thing to love about your darling daughter!

  2. Yes, Pickles is hilarious. For a while, my sister in California was cutting them from her local paper and taking them to my dad, who then mailed them to me along with his weekly letter. And I let him, until postage went up and then I suggested I could find them on the internet and to save the extra stamp.

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