Wednesday, April 12, 2006

She hates me? Again?

Every week my mother calls to see if I'm still alive. I think she does it for my brother because he wants my collection of signed Andre Norton books. "What will happen to your Andre Norton books when you're dead?" he asked with a gleam in his eyes. And he is Mom's favorite son. But back to last night.

To forestall my mother's calls to see if I'm still alive, I make weekly calls at my convenience (if I don't answer the phone she'd be on the first plane out here to "collect" my things) to see if it's time to pry the Ziploc bags of jewelry from her cold hands (or the hands of my jewelry and status hungry sister) and sell them to pay off all their debts. Last night I made such a call. As we chatted about Omar Sharif (who she says has not aged well but what a hunk he was when he was younger -- I agree he was and is still a hunk) and the latest remake of The Ten Commandments she suddenly stops talking. With a voice full of venom she says, "I hate you." Completely out in left field when this pop fly bangs me in the head, I say, "What??!?" "I hate you," she says again with equal vehemence.

"What did I do now?" I asked. (She gets like this sometimes)

"It's all your fault. I can't get them all and I ran all over the place, searched high and low, and still couldn't find them all."

I think I know where she's going with this.

I'm wrong.

"If you hadn't forced those books on me..." she sputtered.

"What books?"

"The Children of the Lion."

Okay, now I get it. Yes, it is my fault. She didn't want to read the books because she doesn't like the kinds of books I like. Of course, I like a lot of different kinds of books: fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, biographies, autobiographies, journals, mainstream fiction, women's fiction, horror... Well, you get the idea. But I am guilty here.

When I first picked up Peter Danielson's Children of the Lion I fell into a world I didn't know existed. I've always been fascinated by ancient history, but Danielson made the world of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia come alive. All the biblical heroes and heroines I avidly absorbed as a child were there in such wealth that I eagerly awaited the publication of the next book and the next and the next -- until I finally gave up waiting because the chronology of events had become, in my opinion, less panoramic. Of course, as my mother so aptly said, who would stick around for 400 years of bondage before Moses came to lead the Israelites across the Red Sea and into the desert for another 40 years? I would, but point taken. I might not live to see the whole series. I certainly didn't stick around after the 8th or 9th book anyway.

At least I understood why she hated me. She takes these things so hard. She doesn't let go and walk away as easily or as quickly as I do. I've had lots of practice. She was born in Alger, Ohio and didn't leave there until she married at 20, and although she did travel out in the world with Dad, she always came back to Ohio and settled down where I picked up and left and kept moving, especially in the past 10 years. They lived in Hilliard for over 20 years. I haven't lived anywhere more than two years at a time even when I lived in Columbus.

Yes, we're very different and I did indeed set her up for a fall. But I made up for it after she whined and complained that she couldn't find the whole series, some of which hadn't been written when I addicted her to Danielson's rich prose. I went online as soon as I pried the phone away from my burning ear searched and found all 19 books and ordered the first ten. She should get them in about a week. At a penny a book, it was a bargain. Too bad I had to pay for shipping though. It was still cheaper than buying all the books at cover price, so I got off fairly easily. She'll be happy for a while.

At least until she decides she hates me again for something else.

The last time it was because I live in Colorado and she doesn't. The time before that it was because I lived in a cabin in the mountains without people crowding my back step. The time before that it was -- well, you get the idea. She always hates me for something. At least this time it was fairly inexpensive to cure.

Just in case you're wondering, my tongue is stuck firmly in my cheek. Basically, my family envies me because I'm the spontaneous gypsy rebel and they wish they could be.

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