The Great Prognosticator

My mother considers herself to be psychic. Almost always, however, Mom’s apocalyptic predictions rely on after-the-fact hindsight, her post-event revelations prefaced by some past tense variation of, “I knew it,” or, “I had a feeling!”

Her fearful restless mind spews out undefined (something’s going to happen) premonitions so frequently that she’s bound to be right every once in a while, and so she was in long ago 1958 Guatemala, when she spent most of one day carping at my father to stay home from an unscheduled evening at work because, “It’s your birthday, Pete.”

Dad had been badgered in this way often enough that he should have been able to resist Mom, but it was a restless time in Guatemalan history and maybe suffering from his own vague sense of unease, my father allowed my mother’s persistent nagging to suppress his sense of duty.

Dad stayed home with Mom for a rare evening alone. They had settled down to their martinis and Glenn Miller when the phone rang to announce that Dad’s office at the American Embassy had been bombed, blowing out the windows and scattering to the heavens smithereens of desk and documents. Thankfully, Dad’s body parts were safe in the living room with my surprisingly unruffled Mom, who turned to him and said, “I’m psychic, you know.”