Back when we were getting ready to promote my book, we made some videos. A multitalented quirkily creative co-worker taped some videos of me talking about this and that. But there were technical difficulties. (One of the fragments that survived is the show-and-tell with Mom’s gravy whisk.)
Time was running out, and I was traveling home over the coming weekend, and it was then or never to turn in some raw video.
So I went out on the back deck at Dad’s house in West Virginia, dragged a table into the sun, put some bricks on it, propped my iPhone up on them, and taped some stuff, which a creative wizard at Abingdon Press turned into several videos.
What you don’t see or hear (in this or the other clips in the outdoor setting) is my stepmom talking to me from in the doorway.
The professional person overseeing all this had emailed me questions for part of the taping. But she didn’t want me to see them beforehand; she wanted the element of surprise in my answers. So I queued up the email on my laptop, and my second mom held it open and read the questions, one by one, standing there on the threshold to the family room.
Behind her was Dad, in his recliner, recuperating from his third or fourth round of chemo — I forget — for the lung cancer that had been diagnosed three months earlier and would take his life four months later. It was a light-hearted afternoon in a heavy time. You make do with what you have.
So this is a story not about the first Linda Brown, who bore me and mothered me for 28 years, but the second Linda Brown, who came along in my dad’s grief as a widower and gave him new life. And who has mothered me, in her own way, for more than 20 years now. She’s the one I’ll be calling this Mother’s Day.