As her mother nears death, Carol has been trying for a week or so to pay attention and integrate, as she puts it, the good things of her mother into her self. To acknowledge them, I guess. She seems to mean by good things: good memories. Moments of affection or tenderness or intimacy, or like the time her mother got angry at a waitress for refusing to give a new cup of coffee to a black man when the cream he poured into his first cup curdled.
I tried doing this, remembering the good things, happy moments of intimacy or affection of Mother Joan and drew a blank. Zip. I couldn’t think of a single moment. True, I am pretty damn forgetful, but surely you would think I would remember something “good.” This failure may indicate I have amnesia or am simply one of those selfish, ingrate, no good children of the kind Joan seemed to indicate I was.
I mean yes of course I appreciate the fact that she wiped my disgusting filthy little ass when I was an infant, and I appreciate having been fed too of course. She didn’t have to do that, I guess. But what Carol is thinking of and what I am trying to remember is something that has less to do with the mother as mother and more to do with the mother as person or something as other than mother, though in Mother Joan’s case about the only excuse she had for the person she was—was, well, being a mother.
And I guess I must have been turning all this over unconsciously because as I was walking across the golf course the other day back from my daily walk to Ellwood. I was crossing the seventh hole I guess, I suddenly out of nowhere remembered that Mother Joan liked stupid robber stories. I think she read every scrap of the daily paper, the Union/Tribune or Daily Nixon I would call it, and she would find these stories about stupid bank robbers.
The stories seemed to tickle her, though I can’t remember her having laughed while telling them. But she would tell them to us or maybe WB and once when I was talking to her I realized she knew a whole bunch of stupid robber stories. These stories are of course about stupid robbers, or stupid bank robbers. Those were the one’s Joan preferred. The bank robber say who goes charging into the bank, fails to notice that the glass door is shut, hits the door and renders himself unconscious. And the door is closed, of course, because the bank is not yet open…because, of course, it was closed down over a month ago.
And then there are the variations on ridiculous “demand” notes, like the one where the guy writes a demand note and signs it, along with a contact number. Or the one where the bank robber sees there is a reward out for him, and decides to turn himself in for the reward.
Anyway these stories seem to tickle Joan and I guess it was good to see something tickled her because come to think of it I can’t remember her ever laughing or at least I can’t remember the sound of her laugh.
As it turns out a web check reveals a large number of sites devoted to stupid criminal jokes. But Mother Joan was devoted to the sub-genre of the stupid bank robber joke.