Poetry is one of Lori's favorite ways to share memories, to express feelings, and share what inspires her, so others might be inspired.
My Mom Really Was a Mermaid, Sort Of
My mother really was a mermaid...well, not on her birth certificate or in her medical records, but she dressed up as one once as you can see in the photo. Mom loved to make her own costumes.
In her fifties, she moved to a small desert community in southern California called Desert Shores by the Salton Sea. She belonged to a group of mature women called Golden Girls. They performed at local events, singing, dancing, and doing little skits. Every year there was a little parade and folks had to make their own floats. The Golden Girls made a float that was a fish. Mom made her way to the top of that fish and took a seat facing the crowd. She hammed it up and blew bubbles and kisses. I am sorry I missed it. I couldn't be there.
So here's a mystical mermaid story in poetry based loosely on my mother the mermaid.
My Mama is a Mermaid
There was a pretty mermaid
who swam throughout the sea,
playing with little fishies,
and whomever else she pleased.
She'd flit and dart to tease them,
playing tag and hide -n- seek,
they never caught or tagged her,
so great was her technique.
One day she came to the shore,
rode a fish float down the street,
blowing bubbles to the crowd,
and singing songs to greet.
The Mermaid thrilled the people,
blowing kisses to them all,
"I love you all so dearly,"
she told grown-ups and the small.
The people loved her so,
they blew bubbles back her way,
she clapped each one in her hands,
like a little child at play.
When the parade was complete,
she was carried back to sea,
she swam to entertain the crowd
with great vigor and esprit.
She waved goodbye to the throng
with a promise to return,
Tears were shed by everyone,
and she wept for them in turn.
The town set a watchman
to survey with vigilance,
no one ever doubting that
her return was imminent.
So it was one afternoon
the watchman spied her coming,
along with a wee companion,
who equally was stunning.
Little did the town folk know
I was the mermaid's daughter,
swimming beside my mama,
and splashing in the water.
I'm the second generation,
they say I am just as chic,
a colorful sea maiden
or a goddess of the Greek.
I hope to ride a fish float
one day to wow a crowd,
following Mama's fin steps,
sure to make her proud.
My Mother the Easter Bunny
Wasn't that fun? Mom was a ham and knew how to work a crowd, and she was a heck of a good dancer. But sing? No, we always begged her not to. I'm sure with all the other Golden Girls singing her voice was drowned out.
Some of my mother's other costumes over the years were pretty amazing. One year when my sisters and I were very little, Mom dressed up as the Easter Bunny. She had a white hood with large bunny ears on top that fit over her head. Her face showed but she used white makeup on it and drew on whiskers. The bodysuit was also white and covered her from neck to toe. Her hands and feet were covered. She held a large easter basket and handed out eggs with candy in them. One year we were in the back yard at my aunt's house and my cousins and are little friends were playing with the Easter Bunny. All of a sudden the children started saying, "Your Lori's and Christy's mother." WHAT? My mother denied it.
"Oh no, I am the Easter Bunny."
"No your not, your Lori's and Christy's mommy."
My mother tried to distract them by amping up her antics and enticing them with more candy. They weren't buying it. This whole time I'm traumatized. I really believed she was the Easter Bunny. If they were telling the truth, well, I would be devastated.
As the children persisted one of them said, "Yes you are, we can see your dark hair peeking out the bottom of your hood." I looked at it and gasped. They were right, black hair right in front of my eyes. But then I thought, lots of people have dark hair, it could be the Easter Bunny's helper like Santa had helpers posing as him in malls and department stores.
"Look," someone said, "she has buck teeth like their mom too."
My mom was not bucktoothed but she had a very toothy grin. She was a beautiful woman and her smile enhanced her looks. But I scrutinized every inch of her face and much to my horror, I realized Mom was the Easter Bunny. I felt betrayed and very stupid for being so gullible. I got over it after a while.
Raggedy Ann, Saloon Gal, Sheriff in a Tall Hat
One year my mom made Raggedy Ann and Andy costumes for her and my dad for a costume party with their dance club. It was so professional looking it could have been sold for a hefty sum at a costume shop.
With the Golden Girls, she also dressed as a Saloon gal with her push up corset and feather hair adornment. Mom had a small bust but managed to work up some cleavage. She was also flirty and men thought she was pretty cute.
Another time she dressed as a sheriff with a ten-gallon hat, chaps, a couple of six guns, and a Sam Elliott mustache. Mom was a little bitty thing. Five feet tall and one hundred ten pounds soaking wet so it was a pretty funny costume. When my mom was angry she was an imposing figure and you can see it in her sheriff costume.
© 2017 Lori Colbo