A friend of mine calls today just another “Hallmark holiday,’’ saying (not too loudly) it is one of those days dreamed up by card companies and florists to make a buck. Could be. But if it is a “Hallmark holiday’’ it is the king – make that the queen -- of card holidays. You don’t ignore this one. Arbor Day it isn’t. It doesn’t matter what you do or how much you spend, just don’t let it slip by. The drugstores are packed this morning with desperate clods crowding around the card aisle sorting through what’s left and – having been there -- I can promise you the pickings are slim. By now the choices are down to the “Wacky Laffs’’ section of not very funny cards or those cards where you push the button, open the card and listen to scratchy songs like the theme song from “I threw Momma from the Train.’’
I’ve learned the one thing I don’t want to do today is take the family out for a fixed price meal at some restaurant where the mother gets a rose and you get a bill that could finance a tulip farm in Holland. It’s not the money so much as it is they require you to make reservations that end up entitling you one of those black plastic gadgets that you stare at for forty-five minutes until it starts vibrating and the little red lights come on. Naturally we’re going out. And that’s OK, too. Going out also means I don’t have to cook while she’s in the family room watching the golf tournament. Who would have guessed that women like to watch golf? I thought golf was designed for men to watch in a reclining position until they fell asleep. There are other little things on this Mother’s Day. In recent years I’ve noticed my position in the family rankings has begun to slip. At first I thought it was just me but now I see that it’s men in general. There’s a new survey, this one from a senior companion agency called Visiting Angels. It says 70 percent of adult children don’t want their parents moving in with them. What bothers me is that 67 percent of the people who took the survey say they would prefer that Mom moves in instead of Dad. Their reasoning is that Dad has worse hygiene, is lazier and sloppier than Mom, and would control the TV more. They also think Mom would help keep the house clean and make a few meals. I suppose I should take some offense at all of that. I have noticed that when our boys call here, they tend to call their Mom before they call me. It didn’t used to be that way. They used to call me first years ago, back when they thought I controlled the finances. That’s all right. Right now we have no intention of moving in with any of them, especially the one who still lives here. The other two probably would let us in if an emergency arose -- as long as we promised not to touch anything or ask why they were going out about the time we were waking up. So I won’t get too upset this Mother’s Day when they shower all their attention on Mom while I sit in the corner with the dogs, scratching for fleas and playing with the TV remote. I figure if I get lonely, I always can call up my own Mom and go over and she will make me a snack, listen to my problems and give me a hug. That’s what Moms are supposed to do.