While standing in the checkout line on Christmas Eve with my mother we spy a Time Magazine. On its cover is a giant picture of Jesus.
Mother wanders over to the picture and begins to trace the lines of his hair with her fingers. In a very loud voice she says, "do you know who this looks like?"
At this, the entire line turns in her direction.
"Jesus?" I answer.
"Well, yes, but..."
"Every rock star from the 70's?"
"Oh, them too, but..."
There is snickering from the crowd as my mother attempts to sort this out in her brain.
"A famous pool player I used to date. Back when you were a baby."
I hold my tongue. My mom dated a lot of people 'back when I was a baby'. So eager was she to regain her figure and her dating life that I've been told I was weaned while still in the uterus.
"Yes," she says, spurred on by the entire line of last minute shoppers who were her captive audience by now. "How do you think I learned to hustle pool?"
"I have no idea."
"He put ball bearings in his pool stick to help with balance," mother said, demonstrating as she held an imaginary stick over the conveyor belt, lining it up against three cans of corn. "No one could whoop me when I had his stick in my hands."
At that the crowd behind us burst into laughter and mother repeated, "its true."
"That's nice," I say as the checker calls us to pay for our goods.
"Maybe I should buy the magazine," mother continues, looking at it wistfully and mentally calculating whether or not she can afford the 8.99 asking price. It's a steep price for a senior living on a fixed income.
"Its a lot of money," I say, always the voice of reason.
"Yes," she agrees. "But every time I look at Jesus I can think about my pool hustling days and my old boyfriends. It might be worth it."
"And that," I said, grabbing my bags, "is what Christmas is really all about."