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Her V-Day Is Also A B-Day

(by Victoria Kertz)

“I always wanted her to be a meteorologist,” my mother tells a complete stranger. “Then I could see her on TV.”

He seems puzzled, but smiles politely.

“My daughter,” she says, poking me in the ribs. “She was always good at science. But studied business. Now she’s a writer. Such a waste.”

My mother and I are close, but not in a lovey-dovey way. Our new tradition is to go on a cruise every summer. We eat a lot and drink even more. We have conversations that are bizarre even by mother-daughter standards.

We talk about death a lot. She has big plans for her ashes.

“I want them in a pink Tupperware on top of your TV,” she informs me. “I’m going to rattle it when I don’t like what you’re watching.”

I say that I’m putting all of her furniture on the curb after she passes.

“Not the Bombay chest!” she cries.

It’s the first to go.

Then we laugh, because we’re kidding. But not really.

These conversations are fueled by cheap Chardonnay, her evening libation of choice. Like many older Americans, she likes wine, Daily Mass, and Fox News, possibly in that order.

She lives across the country from me and leaves two-minute voicemails that cover everything from the cat’s dental health to a disappointing bargain.

“What kind of dish soap is this? It doesn’t even suds up!” I hear the bottle hit the trash can at the end of the voicemail