To Beat the Cold, a Florida Trip with Mom
JACKI LYDEN, host:
Well, it's Wednesday evening. It's kind of been a tough day, hasn't it?
MOM: It's been a long, hard day.
LYDEN: That was the beginning of my trip to Florida with my mother. A journey we took for renewal. She arrived strapped to a gurney, receiving oxygen. And as you can hear from my voice, something was horribly wrong. I was as sick as I'd been in 20 years.
I don't know who took care of whom today.
MOM: No, I don't know either. But I know that I took care of you and you took care of me. And so we worked it out together.
LYDEN: Tomorrow I think will be better.
My mother lives in Wisconsin. She copes not only with its cruel winters, but now with hydrocephalus, a brain condition that can limit speech and mobility, among other things. But nothing has ever limited her imagination. And what she imagined she wanted this winter, at 76, for the first time: a little efficiency on the beach in Florida.
So where are we?
MOM: We're on the beach at Bonita Springs.
LYDEN: Isn't it pretty out here?
MOM: It is beautiful.
LYDEN: Can you tell me what you're seeing?
MOM: I'm seeing the ocean and the tide coming in.
LYDEN: What about all these people?
MOM: All these people are watching the tide come in.
LYDEN: What do you want to do tonight?
MOM: Tonight I want to go to a movie on the beach.
LYDEN: We did go to see "The Wizard of Oz" in the park, and of course we got better. She called us the ladies of leisure on the blue lagoon. She named a visiting pelican Popeye. We saw dolphins cavorting out in the Gulf. And she thrilled to every color and flower she saw. Mostly though, I saw that she needed an adventure. Whatever our physical condition, we need to believe that life can hold discovery and surprise. And it's vital to believe that we can off and do wonderful things.
And one of those adventures was Bob Johnson's U-Pick Citrus, a Michigan guy who staked his claim here 20 years ago.
Mom, look he has a lot of signs from up north. He has Lake Superior Public Access and Flu Shots Here Today and Snowmobile Route; all those things you don't want to think about.
MOM: I know, I see them.
LYDEN: So why did you want to come here, mom?
MOM: I want to pick some grapefruit.
LYDEN: How badly?
MOM: Until they come out of my ears.
LYDEN: Was it all perfect? Hey, this is a reality show.
MOM: It was a good day except that Jacki keeps on dragging me to all these doctors and they keep on giving me more pills and pills and pills. And I don't want any more pills.
LYDEN: But the pills you're taking are for the infection you have in your toe.
MOM: Yes, but I don't want any more pills.
LYDEN: So that makes you cranky.
MOM: It makes me cranky.
LYDEN: You were a cranky butt.
LYDEN: I think you were.
MOM: I was cranky about it.
LYDEN: I called you a cranky butt.
MOM: Yes, you did. You called me a cranky butt.
LYDEN: You think you can be sweet tomorrow?
MOM: Tomorrow's going to be a different day.
LYDEN: Goodnight, mom.
MOM: Goodnight, Jacki. Thanks for messing up my hair.
LYDEN: I thought maybe this would be the big trip, the final trip. But she got so much stronger, I don't think that any longer. Yesterday, she turned 77, and what she says she wants for her birthday is for us to take her to Florida every year. And you know what? I'm looking forward to it.
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