Larry Elder

My mom died suddenly on June 13, 2006. It has now been a full year.

When anything significant happened -- good or bad -- my mom heard about it first. So, during the last year, I found myself frequently asking, "What would Mom think?"

My late younger brother's wife died. Once of my nieces fell seriously ill and required life-threatening surgery. What would Mom think?

As I sat in a restaurant, a woman approached me and identified herself as a writer of a popular advice column. Because of my mom, I began reading this column nearly every day some 45 years ago. I told the columnist that my mom thought her column offered common sense responses to everyday problems, and encouraged me to learn from it, and now luck allowed me to meet the writer of that very column. What would Mom think?

What would Mom think about how close my brother Kirk and I have become? At 18, Kirk joined the Navy. A little more than two years later, I left the West Coast for the East Coast to attend college. Twenty-five years or so went by before I returned to my hometown to live. That's a lot of time and distance, and my brother and I, although friendly, never spent that much time together. But he and I worked together on Mom's funeral, and from that point on, we grew more comfortable in each other's presence. I also became closer to my sister-in-law. What would Mom think?

What would Mom think about how remarkably independent my 93-year-old dad remains? He refuses to live with either of his sons, preferring to retain his "independence." He still goes for a walk most days, and keeps discovering new channels on his multihundred-channel cable system. Yesterday, I walked in to find the television set turned to blues music, and Dad told me that he'd been running that channel for the last couple of days. "I sure like that music," he said. And nearly every day for the last year, the "gray mafia" -- the handful of living-alone seniors on the block -- would call or drop by to check in on each other. What would Mom think?

My mother liked the son of one of my co-workers. She met Adam when he was a small child. Last week, I attended Adam's high school graduation ceremony. He performed well academically, became proficient with the saxophone and intends to head off to Yale this fall. What would Mom think?

My mother, of course, enjoyed her neighborhood gossip. My dad says last year a woman in our neighborhood shot and wounded her husband. They quarreled, Dad said, and somebody heard the shot, after which the police arrived. "But," I told him, "Just the other day I saw the man walking out of their house." "Yeah, son," said Dad, "they got back together. I guess he forgave her." What would Mom think?


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.