by Max Brantley
Everybody went out to eat, I guess. Slow day.
Call this the open line.
Mother's Day tributes elsewhere sent me to the family archives, terribly depleted by the devastating fire that forced my mother from her Louisiana home to Arkansas in 1995 for the last four years of her life. I'd give anything for the meticulous scrapbooks lost in the fire, particularly those from her war years when she met my dad during their Army service in India in World War II. Her photos of her troop ship en route to the Suez Canal, snake charmers, the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the swirl of Delhi street life infused me with wanderlust long ago. If all goes to plan, I hope to take a tiny bit of her to India later this year to scatter in the place that meant so much to her.
Near the end of her days, in a stay in a Little Rock hospital, medication had lifted her spirits some, if not her mental clarity. Being rolled off for a test of some sort, she took a kind attending physician for her commanding officer, boarding troops for Calcutta. And I, she thought, was Waddy, my dad, come to wave goodbye.
That handsome lad is me at five months. She held me up for a long time, until I got to return the favor.