I never realized how tough my mother was until I witnessed her challenge teachers or administration when she knew they were clearly wrong.
I was busted once in the rough and tumble, wacky world of challenge physical education when I was a senior in high school. Did I give a yankee dime about school as a senior? EEEhhh…No. I guess it showed when I was sent to the vice principal’s office after tackling my best friend on the school grounds and tossing his shoes out of our zip code.
We were playing Alligator Soccer. Alligator soccer you might ask? I will explain it to you simply and with lack of reverence. I don’t know what the hell that sport was all about.
When I entered the Vice Principal’s office, I wasn’t a first time offender. I’d been accused, rightfully, of escaping West Valley H.S. Alcatraz to purchase a Wednesday Whopper at Burger King. My previous friend involved in the sneaker throwing incident, Nathan Nypen, was an accomplice. That was a three day Saturday detail working on the chain gang. Picking up popcorn droppings, snow cone drippings, corndogs sticks. It was worth it. Whoppers are good.
The Vice Principal, who hated me and my family, called my mother to ensure my punishment was not only happening on the grounds of school, but also observed at home.
I was the last of my mother’s 13 children, so it wasn’t her first call from school administration. While responding to the Vice Principal’s horrific story of the shoe throwing incident, my mother asked the most logical of questions in a single word . . . “And?” The V.P. was stuck in a vat of, “oh, shit.” He was dealing with the wrong mom. My mother didn’t condone my actions, but in the previous years of taking care of us through births, Thanksgiving dinners, boxing matches in the basement, fights on the basketball court, setting fire, accidentally, to a back field, nurturing runaway cows, explaining to us why jail was bad, yet supporting us and the police in the process, she didn’t find this to be a felonious offense. The Vice Principal was speechless and provided his own apology while she listened on the phone and continued folding laundry with underwear skid marks. God bless her, and though I’m sure she was on the express way to heaven, hopefully Heaven isn’t littered with skid marks.
Mom did make me apologize to Nathan. Nathan knew my apology was as phony as me retrieving his shoe over the fence I’d tossed it off of. When he said thanks after jumping over the fence, crossing the closed school ground rules, I then tossed them over again. What a jerk.
Nathan laughed at both of my insincere apologies, but he loved the way my mother handled the “situation”.
He respected my mom, especially when she delivered my sentence for the crime, “Don’t do that again.”
She made every day our Happy Mothers Day.