Thursday, March 29, 2012

SOLS #29 Gifts for Mom

I found this quote by Drew Lamm on Ralph Fletcher's website, "I get my ideas from living my life wide-eyed and awake.  I sit on the edge of chairs.  I pay attention wherever I am."  That's really the hard part ---- pausing enough to pay attention.  Then, in my case, remembering to write it down quickly before it slips away.

I have noticed many of the writers in this challenge using dialogue to tell their stories.  I always enjoy those stories as I feel like I'm right there with the author.  I thought I'd give it a try in this slice from the other day. 

I placed my purchases on the small counter.  I'd been shopping for awhile and, after some deliberation, had settled on a gift.  The woman glanced at me and smiled as she arranged the items to ring them up.  "May I have two gift receipts," I inquired, a little proud of myself for remembering before she finished my order.  "This is a gift for my mom and I want her to be able to return it if she doesn't like it."

Now the woman took a second look at me, "She'll like it because you got it for her," she assured matter-of-factly.  "Moms like everything we do them for them," she added, suddenly certain of her words.

I thought for a moment about the gifts my own children had given me:  the garden stones they made, the drawing when they were little, the tree for our flower bed, the first knitted scarf.  I loved them all because they gave them to me.  I nodded in silent agreement.

The woman proceeded to check out my items as she went on with her story, "When I was in college I got a plant for my mom.  It looked rather sickly when I gave it to her.  The leaves were beginning to die and the plant was rather small.  It was all I could afford at the time."  She shook her head a little as if now embarrassed to have given her mom something so close to death.

"She, of course, loved it.  A few weeks later I got a thank-you note and picture from my mom.  It was the plant, and it was beautiful.  I couldn't believe it was the same plant I had given her a few weeks before.  It was healthy and very alive."

This woman who was checking out my items was here and there at the same time.  Her face lightened in the memory of it all.  She began folding my items and placing them into the bag.  I stood smiling at her story, the understanding that moms do like everything we do for them, and the pure joy of realizing that stories are everywhere if we slow down to listen to them.

I looked at her as she continued miles from the register.  "Now when I go to visit my mom," she laughed, "those flowers fill the flowerbeds around our house.  They've taken over, but they're just lovely."

I reveled in her story for a bit; the stories that sometimes escape us if we don't pause long enough to get them down.  "Here are your gift receipts," she inserted as she reached across the counter to hand them to me.  I thanked her grateful for the story she had just shared.  I then smiled, took my purchases, and walked away playing her story over and over in my head.   Glad to have had the time to slow down enough to listen.

Today is my mom's birthday.  Happy birthday, Mom.  


  1. You did put me at the counter, eavesdropping as you conversed with the cashier learning her story. Not only did I get the words, but your description of the body language put the scene so clearly in my mind. Catching these moments is holding on to bits of life.

  2. I felt like I was there too. What a beautiful story and wisdom that woman shared with you.

  3. I liked how at the beginning of the story we learn you are shopping for your mom and then at the end you say Happy Birthday to her. The story, though from someone else resonates because of the mom connection. Really nice to read.

  4. A perfect story captured and the conversation and her story tied it all together. A perfect little gift for you mom on her special day!

  5. Cathy, your stories always make me smile. I, like you, have found that my eyes have been wide open this month as I've found stories in everyday happenings. In addition, the conversation brought back so many memories of gifts from my children (many the same as yours). I hope your mom has a great day today and I'm so glad you get to spend it with her.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Cathy, Thank you so much for sharing this post and story with us. I love the idea that Moms love everything you give them. It is so true, I can think to the treasures my mom won't part with because one of us kids gave it to her. In FL this past week, Mom and I would get dressed for the day, meet in the living room, look at one another, compliment one another and almost in unison say, "you gave it to me!" So funny, so precious - nothing like shopping for your mom and I guess moms feel the same. Enjoy your celebration of your MOM!

  8. That's a great story, Cathy. Did you write a note so as not to foget the story before you posted your slice? I love the quote at the top of your post; Pausing enough to pay attention, and remembering to write it down quickly before it slips away. That's the part I need to work on...the writing down part. Some of my storise seem to slip away. Thanks for sharing a great story and a great quote.

  9. You my friend, have a book inside you just waiting to get out. Like Elsie, I felt like I was just eavesdropping in on your conversation, it was written so naturally. You just have a gift for "being in the moment" with your writing. That's why it is so incredibly enjoyable to read.

  10. I have also found that I'm pausing to hear the stories of life this month. I love this story of your mom's gift. I'm sure my mom still has almost everything my sister and I have ever gotten her. This is such a sweet story.

  11. I like how you bookend the cashier's story with your own information about your mom. You did a nice job bringing this simple scene to life!

  12. I read this earlier this morning and I've been thinking about your story all day. It is so well crafted. I was wondering about how at the end the clerk said, "Here are your gift receipts." It made me think it symbolized the gift of the story she was really giving you. Did you intend that? Just curious? I also loved the part how the mom nurtured the plant back to life. That's what moms do isn't it! I love how that big truth hidden in there.


Poetry Month: The Last Poem 30 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, n...