Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Toast to the Leader of the Band

Two Saturdays ago, my mother died.  She was eighty-eight years old.  This past Friday, Adam West ("Batman") died.  He was eighty-eight years old.  Mom was eighty-eight years old at the time of her death. Batman was eighty-eight years old at the time of his death.  Only one conclusion can properly be drawn from that evidence...

...Mom was Batman.  


Today is Mom's birthday.  Sorry, it turns out that it might take a bit longer than anticipated for me to convert my way of thinking to "today would have been Mom's birthday" and the like.  It will come, I suppose. It shall not come today.  Mom was ten days shy of her eighty-ninth birthday when she died.  What follows here, today, is what appeared in this space under much happier circumstances on this date last year and in 2015...

...although in the interest of full disclosure, the artwork to which I referred in these two pieces accompanied me home from Florida.

MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2016


The Rock of Joanbraltar




Today, the hero of my life, the bravest person I have ever known, celebrates her birthday.  The indomitable Joanie K is eighty-eight years old.  

The warts that I have accumulated over the course of close to a half-century on the planet belong to me and to me alone.  I own my mistakes, my shortcomings, and my failures.  She does not.  However, but for her example - including but not limited to her refusal to succumb to panic when her world imploded first in May, 1981 when Dad died and then again in March, 1983 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was required to undergo an immediate radical mastectomy, my life would have followed a far different trajectory.  She was scared. I knew it.  She knew that I knew.  

Yet she never crumbled.  Everything I ever needed to learn about the distinction between fear, which can energize you, and panic, which can paralyze you, she taught me in those couple of years.  It was a lesson that I have carried with me every day since.  It is a lesson that I have tried to impart to my own two.  

It has been my pleasure and privilege to call myself "Joan Kenny's son" for almost fifty years.  I know not whether I have always proven myself worthy of that title.   I sure as hell hope that I have.  

She deserves nothing less.  

Happy Birthday, Maj!  

-AK

SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 2015

Candle Power

Hold on to your rosary beads
Leave me to my mischievous deeds
Like we always do...
-James McMurtry

It is an exaggeration to say that in the dozen and a half words that close out "Copper Canteen", which is the exquisite opening track on his latest CD Mr. McMurtry described the approach that Mom and I took to getting through my high school years, which happened to be the first four years following Dad's death.  An exaggeration?  Yes.  But not much of one. 

The incredible Joanie K. is celebrating a birthday today.  Presuming my arithmetic is correct, today is the eighty-seventh such celebration.  I cannot think of Mom and not smile.  She is without exception the strongest, bravest person I have ever known.  Qualities that are well-matched by a bottomless reservoir of humility and modesty.  

I suppose that it is at the very least an inconvenience to be a child and endure the death of a parent.  That was certainly my experience when it happened to me at age fourteen.  Had it had to happen however, I was fortunate in that had Mom died and left Dad and I to find our way together during my high school years, I have grave doubts that either of us would have survived the experience.  Dad was hard.  Mom was strong.  A distinction that is imbued with a considerable difference.  

For forty-eight-plus years, she has made a marked, considerable difference in my life.  Joanie K.  My mother.  My hero. 

And today, the birthday girl...


...and still the proud owner of the piece that represents the high-water mark of my career in the arts. 

-AK 


No comments: