Only in Bristol

Posted: June 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Bad Mom Moves, California, Daddio, Drink, Food, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Little Rhody, Mom, Other Mothers, Shopping, Sisters, Summer, Travel | 2 Comments »

Mark and I are still shuddering with PTSD from our day of travel yesterday. One which commenced hellaciously waking at 5AM, arriving at the SF Airport at the spry hour of 6:30, and due to all manner of evil airline juju, finally had us on a plane at noon. By which point, after hours in United queues and some neck-vein-popping negotiations with airline personnel, we found ourselves heading to Boston not Providence and arriving at 10PM, not the too-reasonable-to-be-true 6:30.

Before even setting foot on an aircraft I had the Bad Mother realization that I’d forgotten extra travel duds for each girl. (I know. Total rookie move.) So 16 hours later when we stumbled woozily into my Dad’s house, the kids were not only wrung out and weak from hunger, but chicken-fried in a coating of sweat, milk, Cheerio grit, and sugar drool from the Mike & Ikes the boys seated behind us snuck to Kate.

Well then, what doesn’t kill you, gets you cross-country for $500 a ticket, right?

And so now we’re here. And though I’m still scuffing around in a groggy haze, Bristol isn’t waiting for me to come to before packing its little hometown punches.

At the back road’s Super Stop & Shop with the embedded Dunkin’ Donuts (please scatter my ashes there when I go), I’m ambling down an aisle trying to remember what my kids eat when someone bellows, “Kristen Bruno!” It’s my cousin. The sister of the cuz who gallantly fetched us at the airport the night before.

And before she and I made our way through basic howayas, another woman pulls her cart up right near us, looking me square in my eyes. “You,” she says wagging a finger, “look just like Marie Bruno.”

I mean, how small is this town that someone calls me out for looking like my oldest sister who, if you ask me, I look the least like of all of them? (She of the wee button nose. Damn her.)

Anyway, it was the daughter of an old friend of my mom’s. The owners of the pool that’s responsible for my eyebrow scar. (Back flip—okay, attempted back flip—off the diving board.)

When my mother drove me to the doctor’s house (old school) to get me stitched up that day, I had a bloody towel clamped to my head. But what transfixed me was the fact that my mom put her hazard lights on to get us there right quick. I couldn’t remember a time when she’d driven with those lights flashing, so whatever’d happened to me musta been serious. Cool even. Warranting my mom to transform her old Volvo into some kind of citizen’s ambulance.

Pull aside, people. Comin’ through.

To this day, whenever I double park and flick on those lights, I think of that.

So I realized that this grocery store woman, Cathy, appeared in a photo someone gave me this winter of my mother. It was old and orange-toned. One of those square ones with rounded corners—the format even screamed 70s. Cathy then was a teen, a long-haired brunette beauty in a brown knit bikini. She was holding a bottle of hootch out to my mom and hers, and they were both laughing. It was, the giver told me, a going away party for a friend.

My mom at that time had short hair—a pixie she’d call it—and was thin and tan. I figured out the year it was taken, and realized she was 42 at the time. My age now. Weird.

So in the juice aisle, Cathy (who I’d introduced to my cousin who she said also looked familiar) and I were well on our way down Memory Lane. I ran through how my sisters were doing, Dad’s impending hip surgery, got the report on her mom’s hip job, her dad’s dementia.

If it weren’t for Kate’s embarrassing, huffy, “Let’s GO, Mom” laments, I could’ve leaned over, cracked open a bottle of Cran-Apple and chatted with those two for hours.

But before Kate’s whining became painfully rude, I shoved off in search of Portugese chourico. And without us having directly mentioned her in our chat, Cathy said by way of good-bye, “Your mother. She was TOO much. God, I loved her.”

Later, screeching into the liquor store minutes before the sign flpped to CLOSED, I chatted up the old Italian owner about the bleak weather. “What’s up with this?” I said. “I came home to go to the beach.”

FUH-get about it!” he grumbled, swatting the air. “I just took the afghan off my bed. YEStuhday!”

By the time Kate and I got back to the house, hours had passed. Paige’d gotten up from her nap, and the pocket of kid-free time I’d tried to give Mark had turned into him waiting out our return, wondering what’d become of us.

I hadn’t gone far, nor accomplished terribly much, but by the end of my errand run I did feel, despite our flightmare and my numbing case of jet lag, like I was finally home.


2 Comments on “Only in Bristol”

  1. 1 Ellen Connery said at 6:46 pm on June 28th, 2009:

    Good one!
    I hope I get to see you this week!

  2. 2 Matt Connery said at 11:38 pm on June 28th, 2009:

    The exact same thing happened to me, at the exact same store! I’ll be looking forward to Bristol, meeting old friends out of the blue, and a little bit of Tweets…
    Hi Ellen!

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