Monday, November 07, 2011

E.J. Montini and the mothers who make us cry

November 7, 2011

Woke up to a light drizzle. Really coming down now (12:12 p.m.) Our tenth annual Best of the West Source Book goes out the door this afternoon. Actually, it goes over the airways, into the cloud, landing at RR Donnelly near Kansas City some time later. Lots of tweaking this morning on the cover. Back and forth with Dan The Man Harshberger via email, phone and pdfs.

Yesterday, the Arizona Republic did a tribute to columnist E.J. Montini and the fact that he has been writing columns for the past 25 years. They ran a couple excerpts of his most beloved columns and this one, got to me (even though I read it the first time he printed it and knew what was coming):

"For a while after I started first grade, I'd rush outside every day when the bell rang for morning recess and stare up at [a staircase of 200 steps near the school]. About halfway down, sitting on a landing like the only person in an empty stadium, was my mother. It was part of a deal we'd made.

"I didn't like being in grade school, or being away from our neighborhood, or being away from her, so my mother came up with a plan.

"Each morning, only a few hours after I'd left for school. she'd stop whatever she was doing and walk from our house to the steps. She promised to be there, about halfway down, when I got out for recess.

"'I'll see you and you'll see me and we'll both feel better,' she said.

"I'd shove my way onto the playground at the first chime of the recess bell, and look up. And there she'd be.

"At first, I spent most the play period waving at her and watching her wave back. After a week or two, I'd wave only few times before running off with friends, checking every once in a while to make sure she was still there. She always was.

"Then, one day, I didn't look up.

"I have no memory of that day. She couldn't forget it. It's what kids do, she said. They grow up. They move from one phase to the next. They make you happy and sad at the same time.

"I didn't understand it before I had children of my own. Now, I do."

—E.J. Montini

That damn mother made me cry. Full disclosure: I'm 64 and riddled with estrogen. And, by mother, I mean Ed Montini, the bastard!

"It is a wise man who knows where courage ends and stupidity begins."
—Jerome Cady

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