Sunday, May 12, 2013

On the Lookout for Strays....

I am an asshole.  Always have been.  Enough of a realist to acknowledge that I shall always be.  Such is life here 'NTSG.  For reasons far beyond my limited ability to comprehend I have been blessed by the love of a good woman.  Presently the good woman charged with the duty of curbing my inner asshole and keeping me walking in upright position is Margaret - my wife and the mother of my children. 
A quarter-century or so prior to Margaret's assumption of the day-to-day responsibility of protecting me from me - and everyone else from me as well - that duty was assumed (voluntarily or as far as I know anyway) by the bravest, toughest old Irish broad the world has yet laid its eyes on:  the indomitable Joanie K. 
Being the slug that I am, I tend to do a really, really bad job of remembering just what an extraordinary woman Mom is.  Way back when - in the Spring of 1997 - before she moved to Florida, I had an epiphany while sitting in the courtroom of the Hon. Elijah Miller, Jr., J.S.C. who at that time sat in the Criminal Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County.  A number of things Judge Miller said from the bench in his Hackensack courtroom that morning resonated with me and reminded me of what a fool I had been. 
His words also served as the impetus for an essay I wrote, which The Star-Ledger requested permission to publish, and which appeared on the front page of the Perspective section of the Mother's Day Edition of the paper.  Mother's Day 1997.   When I saw Mom most recently - in February - I took note of the fact that her framed copy of the piece still has preferred seating in her China cabinet.  
It bears pointing out here that it is joined in her home by the hotplate I made for her as a Mother's Day present in the early 1970's.  The advantage to being the youngest of six siblings is that a mother's expectations have either been whittled down to nothing or wholly satisfied by the exploits of her children by the time Child #6 makes the scene, so you view his ability to do something productive once every quarter-century as a pleasant surprise.  In the event you have never had the pleasure of meeting any of my five older sibs and wonder therefore whether it is the former or the latter that applies to the Kenny clan, let me say simply this:  Mom would not know how to whittle if her life depended upon it. 
"Lacks whittling skills"  Huh, I suppose that means she is not perfect after all.  Damn close to it though.  And that has always been more than good enough. 
Happy Mother's Day....

Originally appeared in Mother's Day Edition of The Star-Ledger
(Perspective Section - May 1997)

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