In some alternate reality, I am just sitting here with my windows open as the city quiets down and folks on the beast coast enjoy a nice fall night. Someone has a fire pit going in the town and the smoke seems to travel well here. I am pulled back to The Can, to The Biscuit. The smell of dried burning leaves and the world quieting down. Now, maybe more than ever, I know that peace and happiness are so much more valuable than debates and criticism. Somewhere we got caught in the blur of life. I blame technology. Ha. I think about what you would be doing. A relaxing Sunday of visits, a pot of gravy with some ravs, maybe a roast and some veggies. A call to ask me if I want to stop by for dinner. How I thought those invites would never end. How I value your cooked meals filling my belly with nutrients and love and the simple fact you just liked having us over, just liked company. Just liked people. I think about you taking your boxes of fall and Halloween stuff out. I can imagine those tiny ceramic pumpkins. The one that looks like it got sat on with the stumpy root. The little ghost that is not shiny, but more opaque. The felt leaves strewn about linked together with tacky plastic green vines. I imagine the living room clean with fresh crisp air flowing through the house and the kitchen warmed with good scents, a radio playing a sports station or 1060 in the background. You really grew to love sports radio towards the end of your life. This mental image I can see so well. It became faded for me towards the end of your life as I just didn't come over there as much as I could've. Granted people go off living 100's and 1000's of miles away from home. I think we all knew that if you were close, we were home. The red rug. Matted from so many years of foot traffic. I can hear the door being opened and closing about 50%, then slowly closing more. So many times the "Hey Mom" out of my mouth as you would pop out of the kitchen to come to hug me and kiss me on the side of my head. Most likely some towel somewhere, in your hand, on your shoulder, somewhere. I would take a seat at the kitchen table and we'd just talk. Like Seinfeld, talking about nothing. I wish that I asked some deeper questions during those times. Not just about the present, but about the past. Maybe just let you talk about you. Like what did you want to be when you grew up. What did you dream about when you were young? I think sometimes we have so much to say, but our verbal conversations have become so muted with the online social media world, we want to just scream out what is on our mind. I always remember how happy you were for me different times I was finishing different things or whatever. You always let folks have their spotlight. I wish I could just have told you how proud of you I was for just leading such a productive, yet engaging existence. It means a lot more to me, but I am in no way ever measuring up to you in that sense. In some ways I think that may have also been part of what exhausted you....trying to be everything to everyone....but not keeping an eye on yourself. I saw a billboard, but I can't remember exactly what it said. Something like taking care of yourself is essential. Mental wellness is so so so very important in this day and age. Back to you in the house. You would always say you should stay for dinner. You never said you never had enough. You never said you couldn't do it. It sits on my head...that night of my last birthday with you. Telling me you came home to an empty house and I should just have come over. I should've Mom. I really should've. I am sorry I didn't. I wouldn't want you to feel alone in the world. You never let me feel alone in the world.

I guess in many ways, always looking out for me.....even if it was over the shoulder...Bobby


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