A tale of two Bloody Marys.
Back before Leo was born, my mom and I traveled to New Orleans. As I've written elsewhere, "We were on the Mississippi. I remember this trip particularly because the bartender on our Mississippi Steamship served the most bracing Bloody Marys ever. Vivid red and crammed with veggies and bacon.
They were so potent that when we disembarked, the steward had to point us in the direction of our hotel.
That same trip I'd said to my friend Krebs, half teasing, "My mum is so dim. Although she has had a difficult and sometimes tragic life, she THINKS she's had a good life." He chided me, amused. "Jackie," he said, "If your Mama THINKS she's had a good life, then your Mama HAS had a good life."
Of course he's right. That same trip we'd bought little toys for Leo--or for the baby boy who would turn out to be Leo. Tiny steamships, and this print for his bedroom from the Audubon Zoo.
We toasted that baby boy to be.
Today we sit along a different river, across the Continental Divide. Leo's a grown man beside me. Mom's gone 5 years. It's her 80th birthday. We raise our Bloody Mary's to toast her, to toast her goodness and resilience. To making the most of it. The circle of life.