This week I’ve heard from several PORs (Pre-Order Readers.). They were concerned because they had received notices from Amazon saying that the pub date for Collateral Damage has been moved—to 2045! I may still be around in 2045, but there’s a good possibility that I won’t be. So yes, that book’s pub date is being pushed back for a couple of months, but hopefully not by 23 years! Writing this one has been a real challenge for me, so be patient, folks, I’m doing the best I can.
Other than that, when it came time to write the blog this morning, I noticed that the pump on the blog well was dry and in need of priming. Unsurprisingly, dealing with the problem brought me back to my mother. Whenever there was a lag in the conversation, Evie Busk would always say, “We could always talk about Pete Pearson’s eyebrows.”
The interesting thing is, after dropping that line, nobody ever actually TALKED about Pete Pearson or his eyebrows. Instead, they found some other topic of discussion, but I was always left wondering: Who exactly was Pete Pearson? To my knowledge, I never met the man. And why were his eyebrows so interesting and memorable? I’ve always imagined they had to be very bushy, and probably either black or gun-metal gray. Maybe they resembled Groucho Marx’s eyebrows which were indeed bushy.
But thinking about Groucho Marx (Was he grouchy?) brings me straight back to Evie, too. My mother washed on Monday and ironed on Tuesday—every single week. She never had a clothes dryer. Her washed clothes went on a clothes line. With a family of seven kids, that amounted to a lot of time spent outside hanging clothes under southern Arizona’s bright and sometimes blazingly hot sun.
Evie and her forebears were all of Swedish descent which is to say fair-haired and fair-skinned. Unsurprisingly, after all those years of hanging clothing in the sun, by the early 1970s, she began developing bits of skin cancer on her face, and most especially on her nose. The doctor told her she needed to stay out of the sun, but with washing to be done every week that wasn’t an option. Sun block may have been available back then, but I’m not personally aware of it, and she wasn’t much into wearing caps or hats. So what did Evie do? She bought herself a Groucho Marx rubber face mask. The fake frames on the mask’s glasses fit perfectly over her real ones, so she could see just fine, and her nose was no longer in the sun. From then on, that’s what she wore whenever she went outside to hang clothes.
One day, after the folks had moved from town to Bisbee Junction, my younger brother Jim stopped by to visit, bringing along one of his buddies. It was a Monday, so naturally my mother was out at the clothes line when they came around to the back of the house. My brother started to introduce his friend by saying, “This is my mother,’ but just then Groucho Marx emerged from behind a bed sheet, and “This is my mother,” turned into, “This is my … mother?”
I doubt either Jim or his buddy ever forgot about that encounter, and I haven’t, either. And now you know how my having nothing to write about today inevitably led me to my mother and Groucho Marx.
I’m still laughing about that, and I hope you are, too.
Have a great week.