How’s yur Mom?

Andy and I are up north… In particular, Isabella MN.

We rolled into Mom’s about 9:30 AM… and immediately got everyone’s attention by parking my car (with personalized plates– including “Patty”) in the driveway.

Everyone in town was wondering who was at Barb’s… When they’d ask at the bar (the only bar) — the owners would confirm that I own a tan Toyota — so,  our megga-naps didn’t get interrupted.

In the evening, there’s not much to do except go to the Pine…Formally known as the Knotted Pine Inn and Tavern.  This time of year, the Pine is locals only.. the snowmobile season is over, the fishing and hunting seasons are still to come, so it’s all locals in the bar.  And all the locals know my mom…. not to imply that my mom spends a lot of time at the bar — but, well… she kinda does :).

I didn’t grow up in Isabella, I’m a cities girl — and, while I love the Isabella area, I’m not a local.  Mom’s a local — and everyone knows her.  When I walk into the Pine, most folks give me a double- take.  They know they’ve met me, they know I look familiar, but they can’t quite place me.  Eventually someone will figure out I’m Barb’s daughter — and all is good.

Last night several drunks proclaimed the wonderful-ness that is my mom… she has fans you know 🙂  They want to know how she’s doing in Florid (fine, loving the pool), what it’s like on Dolphin circle (ummm… just a normal residential street), and how her house is holding up without an occupant — (just fine).

The next topic of conversation is whether or not Mom has left them permanently.  The answer is, nope… she’s planning to come home for the summer… they smile and go back to their drinks. One belligerent old coot was sure she’d sell and never look back… and he told me that over and over gain… then again, his last name is turned into an adjective that means “sloppy drunk” in the neighborhood..

Last night at the pine Andy and I made some new friends — a guitar guy and his wife.  Between them and the locals at the bar, we talked to everyone who was there, or who came in later.  It’s kinda like Cheers that way…

I knew everyone in Isabella knew and loved my mom… for goodness sakes, the “town” phone book is a typed legal sheet of paper… so, everyone knows one another.

What I didn’t expect was the reach of Mom’s goodness… Andy and I went to the Northern Lights Caffe – quite a ways from Isabella — As I was paying the bill, the waitress looked at me funny.  I decided to tell her what we were doing and where we were staying (Isabella) — she put it together, I’m Barb’s daughter.  She then told me that my parents were favorite customers of the Caffe, that they always were pleasant to chat with and that they miss seeing both Mom and Ron…  I really shouldn’t have been too surprised, Northern Lights has been a family staple for years — still, it was nice to know appreciate my mom :).

Perhaps the most surprising reach of Mom’s goodness came yesterday… We were in a coffee shop in Grand Marais.  We started talking to the barista about our crazy trip north and the photos we took.. When we told her we were staying in Isabella, she asked if we knew Jim — the neurology nurse in Duluth.  I told her that I remember Jim as an awkward teenager and was quite happy to talk with him the last couple of times we’ve been up… I told her that Mom influenced Jim’s decision to go to nursing school — and the barista’s eyes got watery.

It seems that the barista’s brother recently died in Jim’s neurology unit.  Jim’s kindness and compassion for him and his family made a lasting impact on her.  He was working the four days her brother struggled to survive and Jim’s skills and generally wonderful personality made things easier for a family in crisis…

So, when folks ask, “how’s yur mom” — the answer isn’t simple… Mom is a pretty dammed special person… and has been for a long time.  Folks love her, think she’s smart, kind, compassionate and just plain wonderful — and she’s had a big impact on her community.

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