"Thank God, it's you," she managed to stammer amidst her distress. "I couldn't imagine who was here." Her voice quivered.
Like an Easter rising, she stood and emerged from the small enclosed tub area dressed in a blue blazer and matching skirt, white blouse and wearing sensible black shoes. Why, she's fully dressed, I thought, as if on her way to Mass. She was standing next to me.
I looked up from the sink where I had just washed my hair, readying myself for my trip to Syracuse to be with my family for Easter dinner. I wrapped a towel around my head and turned toward her. Her mocha brown eyes were frightened.
"You won't believe what's been happening," she said breathlessly. "Someone's breaking in."
It was August and balmy. We were at the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles, New York − an old stage coach stop, preserved in this upscale Finger Lakes town as a meeting place for young and old, single and married and yes, even widowed. My father had died the last day of June the summer before. I was here on this Friday night with my mother, attempting to help fill her companionless evenings. We were served dinner in the pub part of the restaurant with my friend Cheryl.
Cheryl and I had been blessed with over twenty years of friendship and laughter. Over the years, Mother had played a role as sage and counselor for Cheryl and her sister Pat, as they escaped some of their father's 'craziness'. At one point, when they came in search of refuge, Mother calmed them, sharing what was news to me: her own husband's 'crazy moments'. She talked the girls through what she called 'male menopause' telling them it could be survived.