My Mom was never one to really curse or yell.
Even if the occasion might justifiably call for it.
The closest I ever came to hearing her do that was long ago when I was just starting college. My oldest brother had gone out wind-surfing in the Bay as he was wont to do on breezy Sunday afternoons. Only this time, hours after night fell, he still hadn’t returned home. This was long before cell phones, so we could only wait nervously to see if he would show up. My parents grew more anxious as the hours passed. So much so, that I finally felt compelled to summon my nascent journalism skills at that time to call the Coast Guard to inquire if any accidents had happened on the Bay that day.
Of course, right after I hung up the phone, my brother arrived home — safe and sound. Turns out he had decided to go out to dinner afterward with some friends, but neglected to let his family know.
My Mom was relieved, of course. But she let my brother have it in her own way. Never raising her voice, but rather in her usual calm, soft cadence, she called my brother the b-word. You know, the word for a child born out of wedlock, the term so easily thrown around in today’s vernacular that nobody even bats an eye now.
But I never forgot my Mom uttering it. I’m pretty sure my brother never did, either. Because it was so uncharacteristic. And because she never said it again to anyone else, so you know just how upset she must have been to have used it that once.
That was my Mom, though. Always graceful, dignified and composed. Sure, she’d scold us at times for messy rooms or chores undone. But always in that quiet, measured way. Her way.