…We stood in my mother’s living room and she said, “I’m getting in bed, Peg-a-Roo. Fix me a ham and cheese sandwich on rye with mayonnaise and some potato chips and a cup of coffee. Bring them to me in bed. I’ve had a stomachache all day, but I just took my temperature, and it is ninety-eight point six.”
I was sixty years old, and had flown into Jacksonville, Florida the day before to visit my eighty-six year old mother in her brand-new cottage in a retirement center. I was blind and had no idea where the refrigerator was, let alone the ham, the cheese, the rye bread, the mayonnaise, or the instant coffee.
I thought the kitchen was on my right, which turned out to be true, and I located a stove with a pot, a cup, and a jar of instant coffee on it. Momma had never owned a tea kettle. Feeling around carefully, I found a spigot and filled the pot halfway to the top with water.
“Well, I recently had a poem published in the retirement center magazine,” Momma said. “It was called ‘On Envy.'”
“I’ll read it to you in a minute. Out of 500 residents here, nobody even commented on it. Don’t you like some recognition?” Momma asked.