It was one of those rare June days, the humidity was low. The temperature was around 80 but no higher. The sky was a deep blue dotted with puffy white clouds. He was in the park but didn't have a blanket but what the hell he thought I'll just lay on the grass which looked like it was clean and had the clean fresh smell of a newly mowed lawn. As he lay on his back looking up to the sky he marveled how the clouds took on forms like big mountains or rivers and then were dispersed by the gently blown winds. As he was looking at one cloud change its formation he could swear it was the likeness of his mother who had passed from this world some five years ago. The cloud became his mother's face smiling down on him. He closed his eyes and suddenly he was deep in reveries. He was only sixteen and he wanted to stay home on this Sunday to try out for the local team called The Imperials. He had a good shot of making the team since the Saturday he was at the try-out and they told him to come back the next day. Mom however wasn't going to let him stay home while the family was going to visit his fathers family who lived in the Bronx. She was emphasizing that by not going he would be disrespectful to his father. He didn't believe this for a moment. He knew that she didn't trust him to stay out of trouble while they were away, in the Bronx, maybe about 15 miles from home. But she knew her son. He visited the family and never played for The Imperials, but he was sure he could have.
The scene shifted in his mind's eye and he was in the hospital just two weeks after he had both feet and legs operated on. He was supposed to go home with plaster casts to wear for many months. He was looking forward to his Mother's spaghetti and meatballs because nothing he had in the hospital could compare to his mom's cooking especially her gravy (sauce to you non-NY-Italians). It was not to be. He had appendicitis and had to be taken to Roosevelt Hospital by ambulance and wasn't to come home for another week. He burst into tears and his Mom tried to comfort him and her softness in voice and body was a great comfort but not as much as a plate of her spaghetti and meatballs would have been.
Then the scene shifted to when he was four years old and they were in Asbury Park for a week because his Dad had a special assignment to re-finish a big Hotel's furniture. Asbury Park was a very rich play-land back in the day, right near the water, a board-walk and a great machine that blew bubbles around a glass enclosure, bubbles of all different colors. One Sunday as the family was strolling on the board-walk he asked if he could run ahead to look at the great bubble machine. He got the OK and away he went. It was very crowded but he paid no attention to the crowed until he noticed that his Mom and Dad were nowhere to be seen. He became frightened and started to cry. An elderly gentleman approached him and asked what was wrong and he asked the man if he saw his Mom and Dad. The guy said he did and pointed in a direction that he started to follow after a few steps his Mother and Father ran up and Mom grabbed him to her bosom. The elderly guy was nowhere to be seen. When he grew up he used to tease her by saying she tried to lose him. He was sure there were times when she might have felt that way as he was growing up but in the end he was her child and she was the protective mother hen always.
He remembered as she got older and his father got sicker she would nurse him saying she couldn't bring anyone in because it was her duty to nurse him. She wouldn't admit it but it was more than duty, it was love. We all know how these old-timers are, were. She was a neat freak probably because she grew up in the bleakness of New York's grimy street and poverty where she heard the deriding chants of "greasy Guinea" more than once. She had to be cleaner than clean. While her husband was getting sicker her house was getting to big to keep up so he got her a house-keeper called Amanda. The peculiar thing was that after Amanda came, once a week, Mom was very tired and her body was aching. He talked to Amanda and found out that she had very little to do since the house was sparkling when she arrived. He asked Mom about this and she explained she stayed up the night before Amanda was to come and cleaned the house including washing and waxing the floors since she didn't want Amanda to think she was a slob. He told Amanda not to come anymore, it wasn't her fault it was because Mom was Mrs. Clean and it would be easier on her to just do it herself at her leisure.
He rolled over and his face was in the ground. Apparently he dozed off. He got up and brushed the grass from his clothes but he knew he had to put new ones on since the freshly mowed grass left him with green stains. As he left the park he looked up and saw the cloud that still had Mom's face on it and it had a broad smile on it.