Dear Mom, luv Judy

Mom listening as I talk about our adventures

Mom listening as I talk about our adventures

By Judy Berman

Any time I get a whiff of a fresh-baked apple pie, it takes me back to my teen years and our home in the country.

The apples for that pie might have been picked only a few hours earlier. As it bakes, my Mom prepares spaghetti sauce made from tomatoes in our garden.

Savoring her dishes, it’s hard to imagine her as a novice in the kitchen. But she was when she first married. Mom would lament, years later, about Dad’s ordeal when he was in the Army during World War II.

She said Dad had three choices: eat her cooking, the food at the Mess Hall, or starve.

Evidently, Mom was a quick learner, because Dad survived. Not wanting me to repeat her mistake, Mom made sure I was better prepared and knew my way around the kitchen.

Her lesson in survival skills didn’t end there.

While I was in high school, she taught me how to type on a manual typewriter in our kitchen. Mom blindfolded me so I wouldn’t focus on the keys. It worked. As a result, my typing speed and accuracy improved.

Mom was most in her element when she was reading by a cozy fireplace. Her constant companions were Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens and Jane Eyre. She’d take my brother, Hank, and me to the library, where I’d immerse myself in adventure stories, Agatha Christie mysteries and exotic places.

Mom and Dad outside their home in Boulder City, Nevada

Mom and Dad outside their home in Boulder City, Nevada

She hated the cold. So why did she leave her comfort zone? Some moms do just that when their child gets involved in sports. They sit on the bleachers or sidelines for hours to root their child on.  In my case, when I joined the Girl Scouts, Mom became an assistant leader, and encouraged me to learn more while having fun.

Mom would brave the night’s chill to point out the constellations to help me earn one of my many badges. She’d join me on camp-outs, and make s’mores and other treats over an open campfire.

There are so many things that remind me of Mom. I just wish I could share one more day with her to tell her how much I appreciate the time she spent with me and for her love – even when I was being an ornery teenager.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms on Sunday, May 12th.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-13. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Music Video – Alan Parsons Project, “Time” 

Main Photo: My Mom, Milly Fiet, and me in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Photo: Mom and Dad outside their home in Boulder City, Nevada

Camping, Anyone?

By Judy Berman

Ah, camping! Pitching a tent and communing with nature! As Memorial Day approaches, it’s a time when many begin to think about the great outdoors, the lure of the water and the call of the wild.

The last time I heard the call of the wild – it seems a lifetime ago – was when we pitched our tent in the middle of a square-dancing marathon. The strains of do-si-do still cause an involuntary shudder in our household.

Still, off we bounded with optimism in our hearts as we pitched our tent on the lake’s edge. Our eyes were bloodshot from absorbing the sights and sound that suburbia locked out.

These were some of the attractions of our camping grounds. The water was so far from our campsite that, on the return trip, I drank most of the water supply to fight off dehydration.

The bathrooms, which my children discovered a need for at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., were so far removed from our campsite that I had to take them there by car. (This is when they were much younger.)

Low-flying helicopters buzzed the rec area during the day because some bright flyboy discovered that the showers had no shower curtains and no roof.

The dark spot on the horizon was an approaching rainstorm. The flashes of lightning looked so picturesque off in the distance across the lake. Our friend warned us about the slight shift of wind.

So we secured the tent, tied down the flaps, put most of our gear away and slipped into our sleeping bags, expecting to be lulled to sleep by the gentle patter of rainfall on our tent.

What we hadn’t anticipated was the slight shift of wind, predicted by our friend, that amounted to a gale force of 50 mph winds and rain that descended like a torrential downpour. The wind savagely whipped around our tent and uprooted some of our supporting frames.

We sought refuge in our car which really was not designed to hold two adults, two children and a St. Bernard.

When the rain stopped, we gratefully got out of our cramped quarters. Bad news. Everything, including our sleeping bags, was drenched. We packed up like thieves in the night and began our long haul home.

At 3:30 a.m., we finally arrived home. We peeled off our wet, sandy duds and tumbled into bed.

That experience still cuts through me like a knife. When anyone suggests in an upbeat, chipper tone that we go camping, I recall how our dog would bolt under the table and whine pitifully. To this day, all the rest of us still register panic in our eyes at the thought of a return to the great outdoors.

What family vacation makes you chuckle or dive for shelter? Comment below.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

* Main photo: Camping – Danielle and Jenn – Labrador Pond, Tully, NY

* camping – cooking http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Myaso_(2642493568).jpg

* Camping graphic – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Camping.png  Source: USDA Forestry Service website