Readers of this anti-blog may notice that I am more than usually idle. This is because I have a mother, one Florrie Alice Warren. She has not been at all well these last few years, & now, approaching only her ninety-third birthday, is certainly on her deathbed. The doctors gave her up last Thursday, but she is still, characteristically, fighting along with us, nearly five days later: unable to talk, or to see, but communicating by hand-squeeze gestures. I learn from a knowledgeable nurse that the most anyone has done in her condition is three weeks. So I would think in my mama’s case, five weeks is possible. Or five minutes: we shall see. But any way you look at it, her son will be distracted, & comments may wait some time to be posted.
This is the same mama to whom I may have alluded, as one of the Gaelic persuasion from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her grandmother spoke Gaelic only; her mother “both national languages” (Gaelic & Latin); my mama alas only Gaelic enough to handle standard Presbyterian hymns. (A magnificent mezzo-soprano voice, in her prime.) She has been an Atheist since the age of nineteen; of a peculiarly Calvinist sort. Her view of Catholics has always been a generous mixture of affection & pity.
So that now she cannot shut me up, we are learning to pray our Rosary together, & play some fine Catholic music for the Mass. I do the speaking.
She lost her husband five years ago (& I my father at the same time). They were a very successful couple, perfectly complementary, with nothing whatever in common. Wit I absorbed from the example of my father, but the dark Gaelic humour from mama. It was she, for instance, who taught me on leave-taking to say, “Now don’t you kill anyone!” … Then add, “Unless they are on the List.”
It was in fact her mother, who doubled as my grandma Annie Graham, who taught me from a very early age, while bouncing on her knee, the importance of song, & within that, the importance of recognizing our tribal enemies, & terminating them whenever possible. The old Scotland, much like Afghanistan in many ways, enjoyed a phase of human experience that preceded nationalism, & was really much more attractive. “Another for Hector,” as we say.
I could say more, but not now, for I am busy. I have a little request for gentle reader — Catlick, Prottie, even Chews & Muzzies if it comes to that. Pray for her. She fears death, which is why she fights it so wilfully, notwithstanding her present condition. I understand that, for I have often tried to avoid death, myself. But her denial of Christ is eccentric & unreasonable, & for all my reservations about “democracy,” I am still hoping to overcome it by sheer force of numbers.
Trust me. If you knew her you would like her. She is a character, & I am really very seriously hoping they make special arrangements for characters, up there.