This is about a day I had with my mother when I was thirteen years old.
My brother Johnny always did something special during the Christmas holiday for my mother and me. In 1963, when I was in the eighth grade, and the rifle shot from the Dallas Text Book Depository still echoed our ears, Johnny got us tickets for Radio City.
Now, this is something that we had done a few times over the years, but I was thirteen and going to see a movie, and the Rockettes was not something a teenager wanted to do with his mother…or so I thought.
Anyway, the night before our big date my mother reminded me that we were going tomorrow and maybe I made an “Oh NO!” face?
So, the next morning when I got up, I was acting a little out of sorts. My mother knew exactly what was up. When she saw me creep into the kitchen, she immediately asked, “What’s the matter, Luv aren’t you feeling well?”
Of course, I took the bait and said that my stomach was a little upset. My mother then took the bait I offered and said, “Ah, well then, maybe you don’t want to be going to Radio City seeing as your tummy hurts”?
This was too easy…or was it?
She kept looking at me as I ate my breakfast, you know the looks mothers can give?
She was so silent, just looking. The quiet and stillness of our kitchen on Leland Avenue was only interrupted by the snap, crackle. pop of my cereal.
I began to get the guilts.
The Church would do well to get lessons from my mother. You don’t need any fire and brimstone sermons with promises of eternal fire in hell to get people to feel guilty.
So, I cracked.
My mother asked me if I was feeling better, and I told her I was. Then she said. “Well, then maybe you’ll be well enough to go to Radio City?” I answered that I was.
So, I finished my breakfast, got dressed, and we headed over to the Parckchester Number 6 train for our journey downtown.
We walked over 51st Street from Lexington Avenue, taking in all the Christmas sites New York had to offer. Nowhere is better than New York at Christmas.
We made our way to Radio City and got to our seats in no time, as having tickets already helped us avoid a block-long line.
There would be a movie first and then the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes and a great Nativity show.
The movie was more spectacular than the Christmas Spectacular. It featured Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant in Charade.
(It is one of my favorite movies, and Eileen and I and Jeannine try to watch it together at least once a year…during which I re-tell this story.)
We were a half-hour into the movie, and my mother looked over at me, and we both nodded, indicating that this was a great movie but even more a great day.
When the movie was over, I got up as the credits were rolling down the screen and started to put on my jacket. My mother said, “Luv don’t you want to see the Rockettes”?
I was so taken in by the movie and the moment that I forgot, and when I told my mother, “Oh, I forgot,” she shook her head and knew I understood the importance of that day.
We did see the Rockettes and the Nativity, and they were as spectacular as promised. The Rockettes” legs glowed in the dark at on point!
When the show ended, and we headed out of the theater, we both said it had been a terrific day. It was also a memorable day.
As we headed down Fifth Avenue and made a stop in to say a prayer at St Patrick’s Cathedral and admired all the sights of a bustling city, I realized this was a day that I would always remember and also one that I was so glad that I didn’t ruin by not going.
But the day got better.
As always, when we are in the city, my mother and I made our way to Horn and Hardart’s and had a pot pie…it might have been beef that day!
Happy Mother’s Day Mom