A trip with a mother and her two best friends
Out of the Mouths of Babes
I met Sonia just over a year after her husband drown in their swimming pool, while swimming on his own very late at night. Her two boys were very young, neither had yet started school, and the twin boy and girl who were living with me had just entered their teens. It became a fairly comfortable relationship almost from the start, Sonia’s youngest had little if any recollection of his father and the elder boy, who remembered going down to the local park with his father to watch others play baseball, never spoke very much about him. Sonia never let them forget their father, however, and for many years the three of them would occasionally disappear, and she would tell me afterwards she had taken them to their father’s grave. The two families fit together reasonably well, and since her boys were so young when we met it was easy for me to accept them as if they were my own. Sonia however suddenly found herself having to contend with two teenagers, who had been used to just living alone with their father for some years, and her task was not so easy, especially since she also had to cope with a large dog, Blackie, which she did not like and to a certain extent was afraid of. Although she ignored Blackie wherever possible, he soon recognized her as part of the family and therefore one of his friends.
When they were with other boys and their fathers, her boys would occasionally introduce me as their father, and to many of those boys I became Mr. Bold, which was the boys’ fathers name, instead of Mr. McCormick, but I knew what was going on and didn’t mind. At home however they were always very polite to me and called me Mr. McCormick (at the start they couldn’t pronounce my name and it came out as Mr. Cormint or Mr. Macormint, something which Sonia and I, as we recall their youth, still joke about today after twenty-five years) until they were in their late teens and then asked if I would mind them calling me Pat, which I readily accepted.
In 1989 I used some of my air travel points and took Sonia with her two boys on a trip to Europe. We visited with Sonia’s relatives for a little while and then went traveling by car around Europe. We only stayed in a hotel on our visit to Salzburg, but the rest of the time we preferred to stay in a Gasthaus, which were always spotlessly clean, less expensive and also included an excellent breakfast and always looked so pretty. One night we stopped in a little village called Igls, which is in the Alps just a little above Innsbruck, in Austria, and got a room at one of the Gasthauses. The room we got had a small room just off it, which suited Sonia fine since she was always nervous about her boys’ safety. Although we could carry on a normal conversation in private in our room, the walls were such, as in many hotels that you would not wish to have a loud conversation and still keep it private. When we went to bed that night, in a scene reminiscent of the end of each Walton’s TV show, the good nights were called out from that little room as “Good night mom, good night Mr. McCormick”. All their mother and I could do at that point was laugh, but, since we had met the owner of the gasthaus and several of the guests and knew they spoke English well, we could not help but wonder what was going through their minds at that point.
Sonia and I are alone now; my children have long since moved out, and Sonia’s elder son moved into an apartment with his long time girlfriend last September. He and his girlfriend are a nice young couple, and I always get a nice warm and happy feeling when I see any nice clean-cut young couple that are in love. I guess maybe I am too much of a romantic. Sonia’s youngest boy went to Japan last May to teach English, for which he has a master’s degree from the University of Toronto. Even Pudge the little pug who came after Blackie passed on last June. It is nice to reminisce and I must admit I miss the times when my own children were young, but I also miss the times when my children were still young enough to enjoy as children and Sonia’s boys came into the picture like an infusion of fresh air. For me it is a little sad, but for Sonia it is even more so. Her two boys and her were more than mother and sons, they were three best friends, and it was a joy to see them together. She also lost another friend, as that little bundle of fur, which had finally brought the love for a dog into her heart, died in her arms last June, but that is probably the subject of another article, as is the trip we made to Japan in early November to visit her younger son.
I thank all of you who read this, especially those who pass on there kind words. I hope that some of you might also visit http://www.mybook.pjmccormick.net/excerptjim.html and read the excerpt from my book and let me have your opinion there also.