I Remember Mom: Hold Dear To Heart, Thy Childlike Joy

By Richard Mabey Jr.

 

I think that my mom, Janet Kemmerer Mabey, helped my dad tremendously to find the joy and splendor of life. My father was a very serious, hard-working man. He was very earnest in all he did. Not that Dad was stern, but he was for the most part, very serious minded.

When my father came home from World War II, he worked three jobs. Dad worked full time as a long-distance truck driver. Then, he worked as a dispatcher, in the evening hours, Monday through Friday. Then on weekends, he worked as an usher at the Majestic Theater in Paterson. My grandmother once told me that Dad saved every penny that he could, putting his money in the bank, to start his own trucking company.

My father was very serious about his role as a Scoutmaster. He kept detailed records of each and every scout’s advancement in rank, and the merit badges that each scout had to his credit. My father was a kind man, but he was very serious minded.

Mom, on the other hand, was fun-loving, joyous, and saw the magical splendor of life. In the Autumn of 1992, Mom and Dad, and my sister Patti and myself, decided to take a vacation together at Walt Disney World. We had gotten one of those package deals from the local travel agent. However, there was one thing that the illustrious, bargain of a lifetime, package deal did not include. And, that one thing was to have breakfast with the Disney characters.

At first, my dad was dead set against spending the extra money just to have breakfast with people dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy. It wasn’t all that cheap, by any means. But, Mom insisted and insisted until Dad finally gave in and agreed to paying the extra fee to attend the Disney characters breakfast.

It was money well spent. I don’t think that I had ever seen my father all so happy, as he was at the Disney characters breakfast. Dad laughed, hearty laughs. He joked with all of the Disney characters. The breakfast lasted about two hours, but it was a most memorable breakfast.

In the Autumn of 1992, my dad has just turned 65 years old. He was beginning to question whether he still had the physical stamina to lead the scouts on hikes and camping trips. Now retired, Dad began to question his purpose in life. It was all taken a toll on Dad.

But it was at the Disney characters breakfast that Dad got such a resurge of energy, such an incredible upliftment. And most importantly, Dad laughed and joked around the entire time during that very special breakfast at Walt Disney World.

I think that my mom was always teaching my father not to take himself all so much seriously. Yes, there were times when the roof at the old Mabey Homestead began leaking. And, at the same time, the refrigerator was wearing down. And, the mortgage payment was due in a couple of days. But Mom never gave up on trying to teach Dad not to take life all so serious.

Life is short. Shorter than we realize at times. Yes, we need to be serious minded. But, we also need to always find the joy, the wonder, the splendor in life. We can never afford to let the weight of our problems steal our inner joy. At all costs, we must hold tight to a tiny fragment of the childlike joy that lives deep within our hearts. At times we just need to have breakfast with Pluto!

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please put on the subject line: I Remember Mom.

 

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