Mighty Woman

older woman, grandmother, mother, mother-daughterMy mom just celebrated an incredible birthday milestone. She never shares her age (and gets mad if either of her children do), so I’ll just mention that it rhymes with mighty.

Which is exactly what she is – a mighty woman.

Surprisingly, she and I get along, despite the fact that in many ways we’re polar opposites: she’s small, I’m tall; she’s feisty, I’m more precise; she takes no bull, I avoid bull(ies); she likes to party, I’m usually tardy, always reading a book.

But, somehow, we mix and match, always coming away during our time together with a mighty story.

Like the one that involves a cop, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a departure.

Mom and I are in the car driving toward the San Francisco Airport after one of her non-stop visits – both of us exhausted. But I’ve got a Barry Manilow tune playing (Mom’s favorite) and we’re humming along (“You know I can’t smile without you, I can’t laugh, and I can’t sing, I’m finding it hard to do anything…”) when a thunderous “Wrrrrrrrr, Wrrrrrrrrrr” causes us both to let out a yelp. Golden Gate Bridge, road trip

“What is that noise?” Mom asks, both of us peering ahead, the SF Bay sparkling on our left, the vast Pacific Ocean yawning wide on our right, traffic moving swiftly with us on the Bridge.

I glance in the rear view mirror and gasp.

“A motorcycle cop,” I sputter.

“Well why doesn’t he pass you?” Mom asks, turning up Barry.

“Um, because he’s motioning for me to move over!”

We both turn our heads backward and Mom exclaims, “Shit.” Then she takes the word away, “Don’t tell anyone I said that; I told your children I never use a swear word.”

“Shit,” I respond, “where am I supposed to stop?” On the Golden Gate Bridge, there are no slow lanes, much less empty lanes.

golden gate bridge, motorcycle cop“Turn off before the toll booth and stop,” a robotic voice emits thunderously from the black-helmeted, motorcycle-riding policeman.

What, they have speakers in their helmets now?

“I’m going to give him a piece of my mind,” Mom shrieks as my heart races in anxiety. “He scared us to death – you could have had an accident!”

“Mom, don’t say a word!” I order. As I pull over and we both watch a humongous scowling man get off his motorcycle, his dark police uniform filled with hard lumps of muscle, I repeat louder and slower: “D O  N O T  S A Y  A  W O R D.”

The giant strolls over, John-Wayne like, as I roll down my window. Out of his rock-like face a thin hard mouth opens enough to spit out: “License and registration.”

My tiny mom crawls her upper body across me and shouts out the window to the cop: “I hope you make this fast! I have a plane to catch!!”

If looks could squash someone into a big crushed blob, my mom and I would have been two dead bugs on the Bridge pavement at this point. “I don’t care about your airplane. This car was speeding at 51 miles per hour.”

Before I could exclaim, The speed limit is 45, please give me a break, the policeman turns and macho-strolls back to his motorcycle, glaring up at us every three seconds as if we’re high-risk flights.

Ten anxious minutes later (after which my right ear is numb from listening to my mom’s protestations, recriminations, and demonstrations against the “insensitive, incompetent, insignificant, and impotent bully”) the officer approaches us again, standing with legs wide and expression as serious as dirt.

Before I reopen my window for him, I turn to my mom and plead, “Not a word – pleeeeaaaase.”

He returns my driver’s license, hands me a ticket, and remonstrates, “Speeding is not tolerated on the Bridge. Slow down. When you leave here, go through the toll.”

I swallow my retort and start the car, hoping to get away before my angry passenger can do any more damage. But she opens her window and throws her head out, screaming, “The least you can do is give us a police escort to the airport! I can’t be late!”

Lord above, the mean man stops on his way back to his motorcycle, turning around toward us slow-mo like in a Sylvester Stallone action film.

I gun my car and leave him in the dust, praying, praying, he will not follow, lock us up, and throw away the key.

My mom, after some loud mutterings that I refuse to understand, starts to laugh.

All the way to the airport.

mothers and daughters

Celebrating a mighty birthday this week.

May we have many more mighty fine trips together, Mom. Next time, though, I’m using the window lock position.

40 thoughts on “Mighty Woman

  1. I LOVE this. Wish us luck that we don’t get pulled over for speeding. I promise, I’ll drive the whole time 🙂 Just downloaded Barry for the trip! Can’t wait! L

    On Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 9:30 PM, roughwighting


    • Ohhh, I can’t wait to hear the stories you end up with after a road trip with the “Mighty One.’ Just make sure your driver’s license, purse, and sense of humor are always close by.


  2. Just too funny!!! Your mom is hilarious and the two of you together should make a TV series! I’m not sure what to call it, that’s where you come in!! I think you should take your mom to traffic school!! Happy Birthday to our honorary Cantina Girl!!! You rock!


  3. Happy Mighty Birthday to your feisty Mom – I can just picture this whole encounter thru your talented words!


  4. LOL did you embellish this?!?!? hehehe titter titter, I was told this morning to find laughter and to use it YAY an ample opportunity, cause I am not finding anything yet so far in life on life’s terms..:D perhaps today is looking up!?!?!


  5. Geez Louise! And I thought my grandmother was the only one like that!! LOL! She lived to be 98 and I most definitely get my sense of humor (warped that it is) from her. She spoke her mind but the way I see it…if you have lived that long, you have earned the right to say whatever you want! (and pray you don’t end up in jail with her)! LOL! Happy Birthday to your “mighty” mom! 🙂


  6. What a hero. Respect for authority is fine but your cop deserved an ear bashing if only for picking on a soft target. I hear there’s a lot more serious crime going on in the Bay area. In fact you’ve written all about it 🙂


  7. Pam,
    I’m your Mom’s PEO friend from DE who now lives in FL. I want to send her some flowers for her birthday. Is she home this week or traipsing around the country.
    Lil Rea


    • She’s traipsing around the country (as in SF bay area with me) and will be back home on late Friday this week. I know she’ll LOVE hearing from you (you talks of you often!) xo


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