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Thanks, Mom

My Mom a little more dressed up than usual. She probably made the outfit herself.

I don’t know if they have Mother’s Day everywhere but it’s Mother’s Day here and I think it’s only right to say a few words about Mom. I wrote most of this shortly after she died in 2011 from injuries sustained a few years earlier in a home invasion and I think it’s important to take a day off from the guitar stuff and re-run some of what I wrote that day. Liz Gelber, my Mom, was born in the wrong century. She would have made an ideal frontierswoman. Had she been born in 1825 instead of 1925 you would have heard of her as a pioneer crossing the country in a covered wagon, enduring without complaint the hardships of the journey. She would have been killing her own food and any hostiles that might have impeded her progress. She would have built her own home with her bare hands and planted crops to sustain her family. But she didn’t. Instead, she raised 9 sons. Three doctors, four in financial services/investment, a geologist and me.  That, in itself, would be extraordinary. She also went back to school after her children were gone and got her Masters in Communications and directed and edited a cable TV program (following in my footsteps, I guess) called “Women Together” which anticipated many women’s issues by a decade or more. But that isn’t the pioneer part. My Mom never learned the meaning of the word “can’t”. If a room needed wallpapering, she was a paper hanger. She was also a seamstress-she made most of her own clothes because she thought she could do it as well as anyone. She was a landscaper, a party planner, a fine artist (like her father), an accomplished cook touting all the things that the food programs talk about now that food is hip. She taught herself to windsurf when she was in her 60’s and cross country skied into her 80’s. She was the “mama grizzly” that Sarah Palin wishes she was. She nearly died protecting her home and her husband. Liz Gelber had no help and needed none in anything she did. She never left a job unfinished and never listened to criticism. She just did. Scraped knees, broken bones and perhaps the occasional broken heart didn’t faze her at all. Two parts caregiver, one part wife, a dash of psychiatrist and a healthy handful of arcane knowledge made her the “go to” expert in every situation. There was no stain she couldn’t remove, no hurt she couldn’t make better, no casserole she couldn’t burn and no better person on this Earth. I would give anything just to hear her say one more time “turn that thing down.” There’s a word for women like this and it’s a real little one. Seems a little puny for such a huge presence: Mom. So, call your Mom if she’s still with us and tell her “thanks.” I’m sure she knows how much you love her but I’m guessing she wouldn’t mind hearing it again.

2 Responses to “Thanks, Mom”

  1. RAB says:

    Charlie, wow, your Mom was an amazing woman and your posting a nice tribute to her! Yes, moms deserve recognition for all that they do and have done including mine tolerating her teenage sons rattling the rafters rehearsing with their fledging rock band down in the basement!

  2. OK Guitars says:

    My Mom had to deal with two rock bands for a while in the 60’s. Mine and one of my younger brother’s. Fortunately (for her), my house wasn’t usually the rehearsal venue. She was one of a kind.

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