Monday, December 5, 2011

WALK THIS WAY

Me and my mom in 1963.
_________________________

My mom was my best
friend and biggest fan. 
Whereas my dad took
a firm, "do as I say"
approach, my mom
possessed considerably
more finesse when it
came to parenting and
she had a true knack
for connecting with
me and my siblings.
_________________________

When I was about five, my mom heard me use the “N” word. At that age I had no idea what it even meant – I was merely repeating what I thought was a funny-sounding word that I’d heard someone else use. She quickly and clearly educated me of the stupidity she’d heard come out of my mouth. I immediately no longer thought it was a “funny” word. And to this day, I find few words to be as troubling. In fact, I don’t care if you’re a black rapper or a white supremacist, it’s an ignorant word.

I fondly remember having many wonderful and heartfelt conversations with my mom as I was growing up. During many of these childhood talks we would discuss various matters of faith. From explaining the meaning and importance of being “saved” to communion to tithing, the spiritual lessons I learned from my mom have stayed with me throughout my life.

My mom could seemingly do it all. Although I primarily remember her cooking, cleaning and creating an overall perfect home environment for our family, she also worked full-time in retail, security and banking. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t truly appreciate how demanding her gig really was until I became a parent myself. She asked very little of me as I was growing up and in return for her selfless efforts, I couldn’t even keep my room clean.

When I think back on everything I put her through when I was a kid, it’s amazing that she never strangled me. Once, when I was in junior high she discovered some rather risqué cartoons I’d drawn in my bedroom which she found particularly disturbing. Another time, she came home early from work and caught me in my parents’ bed with a little teenage girl I’d brought home from school. But she never ratted me out to my dad. Instead, she would always calmly confront me in private to express her disappointment.

I guess the one time I really pushed her buttons was in early 1977. I was fourteen and a HUGE Aerosmith fan. At that time their single Walk this Way was a hot radio hit and I thought it was just about the most incredible record I’d ever heard. When a girl at school asked me to write down the lyrics to the song for her, I had to play my seven inch single over and over at 33 1/3 rpm to decipher each and every one of Steven Tyler’s libido-drenched lyrics. I was still a young and extremely naïve church boy at the time and I genuinely had no clue what the lyrics meant – I just thought it was a groovy tune. However, my mom knew exactly what “bleeder” and “muffin” meant, and assuming it was a song I’d written, she flipped out when she found the copy of my handwritten lyrics lying on the coffee table in the living room. In short, she nearly had a heart attack and in the words of Ricky Ricardo, I had, “a lot of esplainin’ to do!”
 
My mom lost her battle with cancer in March of 1999 and not a day has passed since then that I haven't been reminded of how much I love and miss her. So as I prep to celebrate my 49th birthday tomorrow, I'm taking a break from my typical shameless 364 days-a-year self-promotional endeavors  to honor my mom, Barbara Long.

If I could have just one more minute with my mom now, I would hug her and thank her from the bottom of my heart for everything she ever did for me – including not shutting down my dad by playing the "headache card" on that night back in 1962. I also  humbly would apologize  for having been  such an obnoxious little creep for so many years.

-Christopher Long
(December 2011)
   

Me and my mom as I prepped for Prom in 1981.

Author Christopher Long's latest book,
is available NOW on Amazon
 

7 comments:

  1. Fantastic read bro! I can actually hear your voice when I read this.

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  2. Wonderful!! Happy early birthday! :)

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  3. What a wonderful a tribute to your Mother. Chris, her spirit will always live on in you.
    Wishing you a wonderful early Birthday. with much love, Crystal

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  4. Awww Chris this truly touched my heart, thank you for sharing and I too celebrate your mom on your special day tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Sue(kovary)

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  5. Beautiful. I'm certain she would be abundantly clear in her joy over your successful life, walk, and fatherhood. xoxo

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  6. I always enjoy your writting and the story about your Mom was so heart felted.
    Happy Birthday Chris enjoy your day honey!
    Debbie

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  7. Love it Chris! You used to sell me tickets at "Tape Deck". Have a wonderful day honoring the woman who brought you into this world & made you the man you are today! God bless.

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