Another fine breakfast with my family

My mom and sister Katrina live together, and come to the family breakfasts together almost every Saturday. Mom doesn't drive, so when Katrina has somewhere else to be on Saturday morning, Mom has no ride. Being Mom, she freaks out about this, and during those weeks there are always half a dozen text messages from her, about how she's trying to arrange another ride. Sometimes she's talked Clay or Dick into driving 30 miles out of their way to bring her. Sometimes they've said no, and Mom misses that week's breakfast.

Oh, well. These are very casual events, and missing a breakfast doesn't offend me and isn't a big deal. It's a big deal to Mom, though.

This weekend Katrina went camping with her boyfriend, so Mom was going to miss breakfast, or so she told me in several text messages beginning on Tuesday.

Come Saturday morning, breakfast was just me and my long-time buddy Leon. We'd ordered and started eating, talking about baseball and inflation and our long-lost friend Stu, and then at ten minutes past nine, my mom came in, with some man I'd never seen before.

"Surprise!" she shouted like she was jumping out of an oversize birthday cake. She sat down beside Leon, and the stranger sat beside me, and Mom said, "This is my good friend, Owen Jackson."

He shook my hand, shook Leon's hand, and said, "Please, call me Pastor Owen." He explained that he was the preacher at my mother's church, and just like that, breakfast was ruined.

I said nothing for a few minutes. Always gotta choose my words carefully when Mom is around, not for fear of hurting her feelings, but because like on Adam-12, everything I say can and will be used against me later. If I'd said anything, I would've said everything, and would've been yelling and cursing in the diner for ten minutes.

Instead, mulling things over in my mind, I ignored all conversation for a minute or two. Pastor Owen was doing most of the talking, but what he was talking about, I have no idea. Then I interrupted and asked him to get up so I could slide out of the booth. Probably I said please. It's a habit.

Standing up, I said, "Sorry, Leon, for sinking your breakfast. Mom, I will send you a text message later, when I can find some words, but right now I'm wordless. All I know is, I'm not here to have breakfast with your pastor." Then I waved goodbye, paid my bill, and left my omelet behind.

Tell me that was rude, tell me I was out of line, but first live a life in my family, where my mother pulls stuff like this time after time after time. 

She said something to me at the table, of course, but my ears were slammed shut. She said more as I was at the cash register and headed out the door, but Mom can't keep up with me unless I'm walking slow, and I was not walking slow.

Pastor Owen is young enough to keep up, so he followed me out the door, telling me that Mom had offered to take him to breakfast if he'd give her a lift to the restaurant, and that's all. Nothing nefarious. Nothing to get angry about.

I did not say "Bullshit," because maybe that's all the preacher knew, and he wasn't carrying a Bible or quoting scripture. His being there was not about breakfast, though. It was not about giving Mom a ride. It was about getting me to church, and making me a Christian. If you think it wasn't about that, then you don't know my mother.

Now it's an hour later, and I've written those words I couldn't find at the diner. Tried to keep it short, but it's too long to tap-tap-tap it as a text message, and anyway, giving Mom the silent treatment will be good for both of us. So I printed it at the library, mailed it to her, and ignored her eight text messages (so far).


Since moving back I've said several times that our Saturday breakfasts are for family and friends. Let me now clarify, that means my friends, not yours. You know that I don't do well in social situations with strangers. You know that I'm not going to church. You know I have no interest in meeting your pastor. You know that bringing him to the family breakfast was rude. My leaving was also rude, but you know you deserved it.


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  1. Bravo. She asked for it. If she pulls it again, I hope you walk out again and then don't send anything. You've warned her enough. -- Arden.

    1. I'm old and memory comes in and out of focus sometimes, but I think she did *exactly* the same thing to me, with a different preacher 30 years ago.

    2. I believe you wrote about it, maybe even reprinted it here already.

    3. I remember something in PL about her threatening (inviting) but seems to me she actually did it years earlier than that...

    4. You LEFT your breakfast?! Wow, takin' a stand...PM

    5. I will always regret it.

      Thought briefly about carrying it to the counter,. or asking for a to-go box, but I really needed to exit the premises pronto.

  2. Not as crazy as ordering five breakfasts but pretty crazy. You keep saying your mom isn’t crazy. But someone who repeatedly does crazy things is at least a candidate. And how did your brother happen to learn Korean and meet a nice Korean woman? I assume he was in the military but that doesn’t pencil out on the timeline. Just curious.


    1. My mom is crazy, but it's always strategic. She knows what she's doing.

      Dick was never in the military, never went to Asia until he started going with his Korean wife when she visits her family. Everyone in my family is perplexed by the WHY of their marriage, but here's my theory:

      Dick is a talkity-talk-talker. He loves to talk about almost anything, especially Dick. After his first two wives divorced him he had no-one to talk to, and he met this woman who doesn't or barely speaks English, and she was willing to listen to him even though she doesn't know what he's saying.

      Now he's a talkity-talk-talker with an audience, and that's what every talkity-talk-talker wants.

  3. Makes perfect sense in Bizzaro World which, according to the latest press releases from the RNC, is where we live these days.



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