The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, July 10, 2006

Still Wearing the Mama's Boy Jersey, Le Tour de Moi!

by Andrew Tibbetts

I spent a few days with my mother this week. Our visits always go like this: she cooks; I read. Her house is a restaurant just for me. I roll out of bed when I smell bacon. I read while she packs a picnic. We go to Sandbanks Provincial Park and I don’t even bring a bathing suit. I lie on a towel in the sun and read. She sits in the shade and watches me read. Eventually she asks, “lunch?” I say, “Yes.” We eat and then I read until I sense her getting fidgety. She’s probably thinking about supper! We head back and I have a nap, which includes a bit of reading before and after. Then I get out of bed again, plop myself on the comfy, comfy couch and read until supper. After supper (which includes dessert! Remember dessert?) I read. Later, there will be snacks to read by. I gain two pounds per visit day.

Only- on this visit there was a slight twist. My mother has become addicted to Le Tour de France. She watches live coverage from 8am until 11am. And she watches the ‘enhanced broadcast’ from 8pm until 11pm- which is essentially the same thing as the morning with a little extra commentary (don’t worry, she still manages to get my meals made!) It’s strange. For the first time since I was a teenager my mother stays up later than I do. Apparently she’s been watching Le Tour for years. It’s just that my visits have never before coincided with the madness.

Le Tour de France is a bike race that is Three Weeks Long and Shown on TV.

My mother used bike around England as a girl. She’d take the neighbourhood kids with her every weekend, away from their brick tenements and into the green countryside. This is when and where and why she learned to pack a picnic. It was probably the happiest time of her life. She’s in her seventies now and she still rides her bike every day (when I visit she goes while I nap or before I get up.) It’s a lonesome hobby, nothing like a ‘tour’. So, she watches these lean-muscled men in their stretchy advertisements pump their way through the hills and valleys of Europe (It’s not just France! Who knew?) and she soars with the sense memory of traveling through beauty in a pack. I actually put my book down for a while (Fingersmith by Sarah Waters- a lesbian Oliver Twist, that’s almost- almost!- un-put-down-able) just to watch her watch TV. Her hands grip the air above her knees and her legs twitch like she’s pedaling. Her face is lit- from the glowing TV, but it might as well be the Cannes sunshine. Her hair blows back- from the oscillating fan but it might as well be the Normandy breeze. She looks beautiful. She looks seventeen. She looks free.

She turns (“ready for an icecream?”) and- thank goodness- the sight of me doesn’t send the joy from her eyes.


Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

As parents we witness our children's joyful life discoveries and celebrate their successes at their sides, but we rarely glimpse our parents in this light. How fortunate you are Andrew!

Mon Jul 10, 10:42:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

What a hoot! I tend to overfeed my kids, too. It's a love thing.

Mon Jul 10, 01:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A snippet of beauty and love.

Mon Jul 10, 01:57:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

I love your mother, I want to go visit her too, you're both very lucky...xoxoxo

and my kids sort of starve..I forget about food, it's not good..maybe we can all go visit your mom, or, she can come and stay with me!!! we have four TV's!!!
thanks Andrew..xoxo

Mon Jul 10, 07:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

This was beautiful, Andrew. Thanks.

Tue Jul 11, 01:04:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

There's a Greek song I know and love that says it all, I think. I'm para-translating: "Mother" is our first word and our last.

Tue Jul 11, 09:36:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

This makes me want to phone my mom, Andrew. Such a warm piece full of truth and honest emotion. Wonderful!

Tue Jul 11, 10:00:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

I just went to see my mom. She said, "Fresh strawberries?" and I said, "What, no whipped cream?"

Sun Jul 16, 09:52:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Liesl said...

Just found my way here, courtesy of Kelly Spitzer's blog.

What a delightful encounter. So very tender.

Tue Oct 02, 02:23:00 am GMT-4  

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