Don’t you love surprises?! The kind that sneak up and take your breath away? My heart swelled tonight when I happened to run into a dear friend that I haven’t seen in such a long time. I truly could not hold back my excitement and flung my arms around him to hold tight to his hug. You see, this friend is one of the select people I called when Mom went into the hospice facility, knowing the bond that the two of them had formed, stemming from a visit back home years before. The thing I remember most about that visit was how appreciated Giovanni made Mom feel. Which is why I called him during a time when we noticed how positively Mom was reacting to voices. I knew that his jovial sound and laughter would make her smile.
We all loved G. Every time I visited my parents, if Mom wasn’t askin’ about G, she was callin’ to play practical jokes on him. They were two peas in a pod from the get go. They had the same sense of humor, enjoyed the same things, could talk about anything and laughed until they managed to have everyone else laughing without any understanding as to why. Being a chef, he and Mom were destined to have a Christmas throwdown on the bayou. Then he’d just as easily shift gears and hunt with Dad, rock on the porch with Mom and go on photo shoots with me all over the ranch . We hit New Orleans by storm, sipping hurricanes and singing until we lost our voices at Pat O’Briens. It was one of the best vacations ever. His thirst for adventure was what drew Mom to him. She had a true appreciation for people who thrived on experiencing everything they possibly could because she was that way herself. G had the ability to make us all laugh and that still remained true, even tonight. This is the type of “good people” that we should all be lucky enough to submerge in our life and share our most treasured moments with.
There are certain people that you know alter the way you look at things. My friends, like G, that brought out the best in Mom and know how unique she was, will always hold a special place in my heart. Every time I see them I am overwhelmed with memories of our experiences shared with my parents and that warms my heart and brings a smile to my face to know that they too, called her Mom. I love that Mama liked my friends so much she wanted to show them what true southern hospitality was all about. I love even more that my friends made Mama feel appreciated and special. She deserved that. She deserved to feel the kind of genuine admiration these amazing people bestowed upon her. That makes me so very proud to be her daughter and equally proud to call them my friends.