|Thelma Lucille "Dusty" Durham O'Shaughnessy|
Approximate age 13
It doesn't matter that she has been gone over 15 years. Not does it matter that my life is uber full of farm responsibilities, family obligations and the joys of GK's to distract me.
Furthermore it matters not that my teen years with her were rough on us both. I was a rotten kid pure and simple. She was a first time parent with poor parental role models. A few run away events, one that took me to South Dakota via hitch hiking and kept me there for over a decade plus I wasn't the best adult child to her after I returned to Illinois in the late 1980's.kept our relationship partially strained.
I was so busy back then don't you know?
Nor does it matter on her part, that her hillbilly ways could be embarrassing. She never left a restaurant without a pocketful of sugar, salt and pepper packets and maybe some silverware if the lighting was bad enough, and her manner of dress was often hysterical. She invented the "mommy jean" and the "boyfriend sweater" always wearing garage sale clothing and hand me downs too large for her, long before they were known as vintage, a trait I have now adopted myself.
What does matter is that every year, on her birthday the 23rd of December, I miss her so much my heart tightens up in my chest like a heavy ball of metal and my eyes flood over with sappy memories. Memories of her bright blue canvas Kmart shoes, which I have kept, and how she could never manage to totally mix in the powdered cheese with the rest of the boxed macaroni.
Nothing like a BURST of dry orange powder, mid chew, to perk up ones day.
So, here's to you Ma...happy birthday!