Mo went off to do good deeds last week, leaving her only daughter and only known husband to fend for themselves. We looked in the fridge, saw three slices of hard salami, two packages of Arby's Sauce and a six-pack of forlorn, long-neglected, non-alcoholic beer. We wept.
We looked a Lulu, sized up who would win in a starvation match and surrendered. We called Grandma in for reinforcements. She arrived from Maine just in time. Hope was wearing Scrabble tiles for diapers and bottle caps for hearing aids. In two days, I lost 45 pounds, grew a beard and began delightful conversations with a volleyball I called Wilson.
Things are tough around here without Mo.
Actually, her semi-annual, volunteer trip as a camp counselor in Elk Rapids -- I'm sure she's champing at the bit to dish details -- was planned months ago, as was my mother's visit.
Her timing was great. The weather was terrific, the Detroit scandals are in full flower and Hope was in mighty fine spirits. She's doing so much so quickly these days, it's hard to keep score.
Suddenly, our cuddly lap pal needs to move. A few weeks ago, she began to cruise, and now there's no stopping her. She has several hobbies, including a nifty game my mother taught her called "Librarian" that involves scampering from one side of a bookshelf to another and knocking off all the titles except one, David Simon's excellent "The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood."
She stops and flips all the pages, either fascinated by the gritty tale of urban decline or the book's spiffy red cover. We call another game "Go Get the Remote Control." It is similar to "Librarian" but involves a remote control, a leather couch and a noticeable lack of detail about the economics of the heroin trade.
Another new hobby is something called "Look at that Beautiful Creature in the Mirror." I taught her that one. It involves staring at the most beautiful creature in the mirror, waving rather coquettishly and coyly, having difficulty containing your excitement, waving your arms in joy and breaking into hysterical laughter. It took me 10 years to perfect the game. Hope has mastered it in a month. Smart cookie.
While Mo did good deeds, we ventured north for a mini-getaway to Michigan's kitschy Little Bavaria for 24 hours of eating chicken dinners and bratwurst, riding in paddle boats, swimming and looking at ourselves in the mirror and laughing with delight.
Great times. Big Mo is back and we are so happy we broke from the revelry to stop at the world's largest Christmas store to buy her a taco ornament with an inscription showing how much we missed her. It reads, "Big Mo's Taco."
My mom left town on Saturday, and we were all very sad, but we see her in three weeks for another vacation. That makes us so happy we need to head soon to the bookshelf.