July 21, 2011

I haven’t cried over my mother for some time now. But as we crossed into Scotland yesterday, that changed. Seeing the countryside she had longed to see but never had, opened me up to her absence again. ┬áIt makes sense. My dad’s death has occupied all that bandwidth for the last couple of years. But seeing the rolling hills, the flocks of sheep and the turbulent sky made me remember how much I have missed missing her these last three years or so.

My mom gave me the closest thing to an ethnic identity a white American farm kid could ask for. She actually played bagpipe records to me as a baby. She spoke with great affection for her maternal grandfather who came over on the boat. She bought me a kilt, and took me to the local highland games a couple of times.

I can’t help but think that the boisterous, working class, unappologetically emotional and dignified fiber that runs through Glasgow also ran through Chere Hazen.

Glasgow would never have dated me. I never would have got up the nerve to ask her anyway. I would have admired her freckled, powerful grace from a distance, and worried that she might kick my ass if she caught me looking.

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