Burt Ross' Mom

Although my Mom was well read and well educated and skipped two grades in school, nevertheless she suffered from what I called the “Mr. Magoo syndrome.” Mr. Magoo was a cartoon character who, to put it mildly, could not see very well, and got into trouble because of his misidentifying all kinds of objects. There was nothing wrong with Mom’s eyesight, but she had a tendency to be elsewhere, a bit absent minded, if you get my drift.

I remember one time when Mom was pushing a shopping cart in a supermarket and plowed right into a free standing display of cans throwing the cans in every direction. Mom continued down the aisle as if nothing had happened. For her, it had not. She was simply oblivious at times.

I got a call from Mom one time that she had locked herself out of her car and could I come help her get back in. When I drove to where Mom had parked her car, she had in fact locked herself out, but she failed to mention one important item—the car was still running with her keys in it. That is not easy to do, but apparently Mom had no trouble doing it.

Mom once purchased a new car and scheduled to meet with the salesman the following day to go over the car’s features. When the salesman asked Mom whether she had read the instruction book, she gave him a look of misbelief. Mom never read an instruction book in her life.

The salesman started to explain to Mom how the cruise control worked. “Not interested,” Mom asserted. Then he tried to tell her about tuning the radio. “Not interested,” Mom repeated. “Just tell me how to start the car and where the brakes are,” she said. 

Mom carried a pocket book the size of a small suitcase. She spent the better part of every day reaching into its innermost sanctum to find her keys.

Mom was not focused on practical things, but when it came to protecting her younger son, namely me, she was as focused as an eagle on its prey. I once saw a nature show, and when a baboon killed a baby antelope, the mother antelope chased that baboon up a tree. The baboon could easily have killed the mother, but the mother’s protective determination trumped all logic. My Mom’s protective instinct was no different.

A happy Mother’s Day to all those mothers who share my Mom’s maternal devotion.

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