I have a confession . . . I'm an introvert.
I know, it's shocking.
How can someone, who's idea of a good evening is drinking a good glass of Kentucky bourbon and watching bad horror and sci-fi flicks and blogging to all five readers, consider herself an introvert?
My mother definitely didn't raise me that way. My mother can connect with people as easily as breathing. All she has to do is sit on a park bench and random strangers sit next to her and sing their lives to her.
My folks visited me and Hun last week and New Yorkers fell in love with my mother. At the end of a dinner in an Italian restaurant in Albany, she made bosom friends with the waiter and finding out all the best eateries in The City. All she has to do is ask the score of the Rockies game. (My father giggled and pointed with me when we were abandoned at our table by my mother to find out the score. Hun joined her later, and bent the ear of the waiter as well.)
It was practically a repeat performance the following evening at Avenue A with neighboring diners looking over our dishes and vice-versa. My mother's attitude: it doesn't hurt to ask or comment, and you get to hear really interesting things that you wouldn't have heard about before.
The City couldn't be more friendly in the Fall. Two women approached us unsolicited about the hidden beauties of Brooklyn as we exited the subway station. They told us the local history. How a neighbor painted signs directing visitors to the footpath to the Brooklyn Bridge before The City replaced them out of embarrassment. How a couple of blocks down was a breathtaking view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty (we checked it out--it was). How Prizzi's Honor was shot in the neighborhood and we could see the house if we walked a little farther down the promenade, and a couple of great places to eat besides . . .
Our waitress at breakfast discussed the best in the City was the Polish section of town, where people were friendly and all the Polish immigrants lived. She practically hugged Hun (who's half Polish) and my mother on the way out the door.
Is it the Fall, or is it my mother? My money is on the latter. The woman is charming, she can tickle a conversation out of almost anyone. People trust her and tell her secrets, seek solace, and share jokes.
My dad comments on my mom's charisma, but Hun follows every word my father says and they talk heatedly about physics and research projects. My dad watches people and shares his observations: foreign tourist's awe at seeing The City and compares it to their trip to Europe, a grandmother teaching her granddaughter to rollerblade. He is more quiet, but just as much of the party as my boisterous mother.
When growing up, my friends seemed to gravitate to my mother and father as second parents, a home away from home. They felt safe and assured. Sometimes I got jealous I wasn't the main reason why my friends spent sleepovers at my house. I didn't have cool video games or toys--all I had to entice them over was the warmth of my parents. Now I realize--especially with my job--how blessed I was.
I know this post sounds a bit glurgey, but I can't help it. My parents were awesome--they still are.
I love you, Mom and Dad.