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  • Samantha Patschke

July 1, 2024 – Day 32– Good morning, Tita

When you live in and Honduras and work in the garment industry for 30 years, you accumulate a lot of gifts. My mother was the queen of gift receiving when she was in her prime. Most of the time these gifts are knickknacks or decorative memories. Once in a blue moon she brought home something that was unique. One time she brought home a real Mayan artifact. A sewing operator’s father worked at the excavation site when the operator was a child. An archaeologist gave him the piece and he later gifted it to his son, who in turn regifted it to my mom.

Another interesting present was a hand painted picture of my mother. This was done with so much love and care. It must have taken hours! The painting is a portrait of her, plain and simple, a 2’ x 3’ foot depiction. The jaw line is a little sharp and her shoulders much to broad, but in an instant, you can recognize her. Her eyes are soft, and the perfect color and it somehow captures her spirit.

While cleaning the attic of my new tropical home last week, I found this painting. Anticipating her visit. I got it out and cleaned it up. I had only bad intentions at the time. I wanted to put that sucker up and embarrass my mother. She is a very shy person in that sense. A painting of her hung high on a central wall of my house would just make her melt into a pile of silly putty.

I pulled this out and picked the perfect wall.  Right outside my bathroom. Every time she goes to the loo, she is going to have to see it. In my head this racked off in Dr. Evil’s voice from Austin Powers.

The plan was set. Once she leaves, I will take it down and replace it with something less dapper.  There was a miscalculation in my malicious plan. As soon as I pulled the covering and protective plastic off this painting to clean it up, my sons saw it. They started screaming “Tita, Tita.” “She looks so beautiful.” “Mom, where did you get that?!”

They missed their Tita, and so did I. I am my mother’s daughter so no looking back. I cleaned that thing up, got out the drill (with a little help) and hung that painting dead center. It was five days and counting. She arrived on Sunday. I was ready with this unique surprise.

Three days and counting, I was sitting at my kitchen counter reading, having my morning coffee and my youngest son got up. He opened the door and said, “I have to go pee.” If you know my son, you have heard him say this. He always announces his necessities with honor. This time he used his Darth Vader voice to relay the message. He bolted towards the bathroom on his tiptoes, curiously in same way his Tita runs. When he was rounding the corner, he paused…nothing else mattered… In the softest, sweetest, most sincere, natural voice, he looked up at the portrait and said, “good morning Tita.” He slipped into the bathroom, and I knew that painting was never coming down. Jokes on me.

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