I try to take somebody’s mother out to dinner on August 28th every year because it’s my mother’s birthday and I can’t take her out to dinner. Last year I took her sister out for dinner and I called at the last minute to get a reservation:
Me: Hi. I’d like a reservation for two outside. Someplace with a nice view.
Hostess: Is this a special occasion?
Me: Yes, it’s my mother’s birthday and her sister and I are meeting for dinner.
Hostess: Will you mother be coming with her sister?
Me: Unfortunately no. My mother is dead. But please wish a Happy Birthday to her sister if she gets there before I do.
I love eating out. When we arrived, the hostess mentioned how nice it was that V & I were getting together for Mom’s birthday. And then the hostess told me about her own mother who had died recently of breast cancer. Yep.
Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment and as I was leaving, the conversation went like this:
Me: (to my doctor who has a LeBron poster on his wall) Did you see LeBron talking about the NBA boycott last night?
*Doc: Why do people have to be so emotional?
Doc: I mean, I don’t see race. But clearly this black man was a bad guy. He had a knife.
Me: I think the knife was in his car. He didn’t have a weapon on him at the time he was shot.
Doc: But the police know what they are doing. They were just defending themselves.
Me: Do they? He was shot in the back seven times. I don’t think he would have been shot if he was a white guy.
Doc: People are so emotional.
*Maybe I don’t need to say this, but this doc is a young straight white guy.
I like doctors – especially those who like basketball. We were talking about my shoulder and then the conversation made a twist and I found myself talking about racism with with this guy who is a specialist I don’t need to see after next week.
We never know when simple conversations turn into more complicated conversations. But it’s important that we see people and talk with them – even if the simple becomes more complicated. There could be a pastoral twist. Or a political one.
But we need to keep talking to each other.
Happy birthday Mom.
Image of the dessert I always ate for Mom’s birthday when we lived in Northern Virginia: The Flourless Chocolate Waffle at The Carlyle.