Tag Team

Occasionally succumbing to some whimsical urge, and with the speed and strength of Zeus the Lightning God, my mother could swoop me off my feet and pin me flat on the floor, where I lay panting and puling. I would stagger to my feet and skulk off to nurse my rug burns and bruised psyche.

In this photo, the aunts and uncles are preparing for a night out on the town. My Dad’s baby brother, Uncle Steve, is documenting the moment with his own camera just as my father is snapping the picture from his vantage point. The mother-daughter moment in the foreground, seemingly unnoticed, is captured by my father’s lens.

I’m getting “The-Talking-To.” Do’s and Don’t’s, Musts and Mustn’ts; a long list of regulations which, the very moment I’m left to think for myself, float right out of my head and disappear like puffs of smoke into the ether. Poof! The oft-repeated mantra, “If you misbehave, so help me God, you’ll rue the day” usually resonates for about half a second as the door closes behind my departing parents.

It’s as though the click of the latch is some post-hypnotic trigger for me to leap into forgetfulness, immediately dismissing whatever dire consequences I’ve been cautioned about. A smorgasbord of sins beckons to me: Maybe I’ll head straight to the kitchen and eat something with sugar in it; run outside to grab my bike and ride it in the busy streets; watch TV too late; curl up under my covers with a flashlight to read past my bedtime; or just plain old neglect to brush my teeth before bed.

But this night, my brain kicks in and I hesitate. Whatever mischief I might have planned for the evening is off the table, because I feel the weight of the arm curled around my slender neck, and it carries the hefty promise of a hammerlock.

3 comments on “Tag Team”

  1. Mamma! I always think of you as a witty and funny woman, but with every post you get wittier and funnier! I adore this one as much as or more than the last!

  2. I love you Susan! I love getting to know you even more- like this. It’s all so clear! 🙂

  3. “list of sins” seldom changes through the years…I’m still smiling over this anecdote

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