Today is my mom’s birthday. She is 85 years old and is still going strong.
My mom and I look nothing alike. She is a petite 5’4″ blonde now silver gray. I am 5’9″, brunette and XLovable in size. I attribute my height and colouring to my dad and my long skinny legs to my mom, both of which I will be eternally grateful. My mom and I have a lot in common, though she does it best. Gardening, playing the piano, baking and doing crossword puzzles.
As my life became busier, I gave up on the gardening, played the piano less often, and baked only when I had to, but the crosswords are still a daily activity for me. When I take my coffee break in the morning, I find the crossword in the morning paper and attempt to finish it off at one go. Rarely does this happen, but I try.
Mom and I have always finished each other’s crosswords. For as long as I can remember, every visit to her home eventually found me going through her Toronto Star crossword and filling in the blanks she couldn’t. Then I’d move on to the jumble puzzle – always a favorite of ours. Mom does this to me, too. for Christmas this year I received the New York Times Sunday Crossword book. It’s hell on paper. The clues are vague and the answers are harder to find. Mom found the book and scoffed at me when I told her how hard this book was. Nothing was too hard for her. She filled in a few squares then put the book down. I didn’t ask her if she found it hard. We had Christmas visiting to do.
Last night, as I was watching television, I picked up the book and found the page Mom had worked on. Her familiar handwriting in the small squares made me smile. I tried to work around her words, but I couldn’t get anything to work, and so I cheated. I looked in the back for the answers. Mom was wrong. What one may wear in winter was not PARKAS but LAYERS. Now I could go on a solve the puzzle. Not! It’s still hell on paper and I am lucky to fill in two answers without looking at the answer section.