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My father died around six years ago.
Since then, life has been pretty lonely for my mother.
Sure, she had her ladies lunch groups and some neighbors she sometimes spends time with.
And there’s me. I live a bit more than an hour away, but that’s a couple hours closer than any of my siblings.
However, I have been spending more time with my boyfriend — and so Mom’s and my visits have been more limited.
Mom’s a goer — a person who likes to get out, who likes to stop along the way, who loves shows and road trips and eating out.
But more and more, she was staying home alone. Faced with that kind of life, she was reading voraciously.
Good used books are easy to find, and Mom had been stocking up on them.
That’s what she was doing a few months ago when she went to a used-book sale at a community center in Jefferson County.
She bought so many books, in fact, that she had to make multiple trips to the car. A kind gentleman who saw her plight offered to help her carry them.
They struck up a conversation, and the widower and widow decided they ought to have lunch some time.
But he did not call, and Mom thought that was that and buried herself back in her books.
Turns out the gentleman was busy with painting projects at his church.
Once he got that finished, he and Mom had that lunch.
Then more lunches.
Then dinners, drives through the Smokies, movies, carriage rides and long days spent at Dollywood. Now she and her new man are busily planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.
Mom is happier than I have seen her in years. She loved my father, but he was more of a stay-at-home guy.
I’m becoming well-acquainted with Mom’s answering machine these days, and when I do reach her, her list of activities just about wears me out.
These days, Mom has largely put aside her books. And why not? She’s found a happy ending in real life.