This is the third of four pieces in a series I’m posting this week. It’s dedicated to my Mom, Pamela Jane (Mulligan) Misener, who passed away a year ago on October 2nd 2010.
No one would describe my Mother as a risk taker. She never travelled further than the
Caribbean, never gambled more than $100 and always remembered to bring an umbrella. However, from time to time she surprised us all by pushing outside of her comfort zone and embarking on something new.
I think she was almost thirty when she decided that she wanted to learn to paint. Although she had never excelled at art in school, she had dabbled in various creative
outlets over the years and was open to instruction. So she signed up for an art class.
For the next two decades she painted continuously. Her easel was a regular fixture in our dining room and her work steadily improved to the point where she was winning ribbons at the Fall Fair in Paris, Ontario and even selling the occasional piece at a local
art show. As a very little girl, I remember thinking of my Mom as an artist and knowing that this set her apart (… and in my mind, above) other girls’ mothers.
Reading, gardening and painting; these were the three things my Mom loved to do. Until one Mother’s Day.
I was about ten years old and my Mom and I were standing in the kitchen. We heard my Dad rattle through the garage door and onto the back patio.
“Pam! Come on out here,” he said. “I’ve got something for you.”
My Mother peeked out the adjacent dining room window to see what he was talking about.
“Oh… my…. God,” she said.
There on the patio, sat a brand new set of ladies golf clubs.
Now you have to understand that beyond swimming in our backyard pool, athletics were something that my Mother simply didn’t do. In my entire life, I never witnessed her throw or catch a ball of any kind. Once when I was quite small I heard her screaming my name outside and saw her running down the farm driveway. I had mistakenly left my bike by the pond and, not knowing that I was inside the house reading the Saturday comics, she saw it there and feared that I had drowned. That was the only time I saw her run and even then is was more of a fast shuffle.
Now she stood before a gift of golf clubs, lessons and a seasonal membership to the local golf club. Dad told her he was planning to spend a lot of time on the course that
summer and she could either choose to join him, or to stay at home and keep quiet about it. My Mother chose to try golf.
She was quite sure that she would hate it.
But the golf course brought my Mother a whole new set of lady friends and after a few lessons, her studied approach to learning paid dividends and she began to play quite well. It wasn’t long before she was playing almost every day and regularly beating my Dad. To this day, my husband Craig shakes his head when he recalls my Mother’s wicked short game.
On one particular day she was teamed up with a couple of men she didn’t know. As men do, they cringed a bit when they saw her, fearing that this woman’s poor play would hold up their game. She scored a hole in one on that round.
Like my Mother, I’m not a natural risk taker. I have lived in the same house for twelve
years, would never dream of bungee jumping, and usually remember to bring an umbrella. However, my Mother showed me that there are unknown treasures to be found beyond one’s comfort zone.
Before my Mom died I made the single biggest decision of my life, choosing to leave my almost twenty year career in consumer packaged goods marketing to try my hand at something new, and I know that she was proud of me for taking the leap. I have yet to score a hole in one in the world of writing, but I’m having a pile of fun playing the game.