Last week. I saw a young mother in the supermarket parking lot. Her kids were fussing. She had a toddler in a stroller who was howling.
Her attention was on the screaming baby, so she didn’t notice her fugitive shopping buggy rolling downhill.
I did. So I jogged after it and caught the cart before it smacked the door of a very white, very shiny, very BMW.
She gave me a quick smile and a frantic “Ohmygodthankyousomuch.”
The baby screamed another chorus of misery.
Then the mother buckled her three kids into an economy car—a vehicle with rust around the wheel-wells. When she did, she spilled her purse. It was one of those big beach-bag deals.
God love her.
She threw her head into her hands while her stuff went flying everywhere. She stayed like that a little while. I don’t know whether she was crying, but she certainly deserved to.
A few random strangers and I helped gather her things in the parking lot. I chased a runaway lipstick tube and mid journey, I was
immediately lost in a time warp.
Because, you see, long ago I knew a woman like her. A single woman, a widow, who raised two kids on a shoestring, and struggled for every buffalo nickel.
The same woman who taught me to spell my name. To tie my shoes. And how to yes-ma’am and yes-sir my elders. A woman I called Mama.
I will never forget when Mama met a young Latina woman at her Wednesday Bible study when I was a child.
The Spanish-speaking woman was single, she had a partially deaf son, she lived in a dilapidated apartment, she worked many jobs. The woman had no car, and you won’t get far in a world of interstates and overpasses without tires. Nobody knew this better than Mama.
So Mama made friends with the woman. She carried the young woman to and from…