Mum is never far from my mind. As I come closer to Christmas I find she's even more often in my thoughts; Christmas hasn't been the same since we lost her. Mum's spirit was an amazing thing and there wasn't much that got in her way if she could possibly help it.
She suddenly found herself single again at the age of 60 and decided it was time to start traveling. Her journeys to places as far flung as Rome, Rio, and Rangoon were an inspiration to me. If I can do half the stuff she managed I'll be a happy woman.
I keep thinking about her stories... she had so many. I promised myself once that I would write them down but sadly I haven't managed to gather many. But here's a start. It's a funny little tale that happened on an Alaskan cruise we took together the last time she visited us in 2003.
On the last evening, as were heading back into Vancouver, we were all instructed to make sure our suitcases were outside the cabin by midnight, so they would be ready to offload the next morning.
I woke up bright and early, went up to the top deck to meet Mum for breakfast so we could see the sights coming into port. I started to get a little concerned after a while as she is normally up before me she was nowhere to be seen. I strolled over to the elevators to see if I could see her. As the doors opened, there’s my darling Mum surrounded by a group of very concerned people all looking down at her BARE FEET! I will never forget the sight!
She’d been really diligent and had packed EVERYTHING - including all her shoes! She padded down to the restaurant and we chatted about what we should do. It’s all very well tripping about a cruise ship with bare feet, but the thought of heading through the cruise ship terminal was a real turn off. Half-way through breakfast a lovely lady we had not met during the trip came up to her and said, “Are you the lady with no shoes?” Apparently word had got around. She was so incredibly sweet and offered mum the spare pair of sandals she’d kept out of her suitcase. They were only a little on the large side, but good enough, so we took down her name and mailed them back to her in New York.