The Radical Side Of “Motherhood”

free-vintage-mothers-day-cardImage(s) courtesy VintageHolidayCraftscomThe Radical Side Of “Motherhood”

by Brenda Ann Eckels, aMGC (c) 7/5/2015

This essay arose after reading “The Radical Side Of Mother’s Day” by David Concepcion, BS,MA

You can read it here:

https://theologyinaction.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/the-radical-side-of-mothers-day/

and “Occasions of Sin” by Sandra Scofield (ISBN 0-393-05735-6) a Memoir of Sandra’s relationship with her mother, and the other “mothers” of her life.

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OK, so Mother’s Day is long past…but in this essay by David and this book by Sandra I found to be relevant to the everyday way that Mothers struggle to do the right thing, even when the right things is not clear at all.

Along with the inherent battle to make the best possible choice in so many hundreds of situations, Mothers also have the responsibility to be willing to admit when they are wrong, and to apologize and seek to make amends to those they unwittingly hurt when they make a human mistake. After all, being willing to say “I am sorry about how that decision turned out. I understand I hurt you. I am open to making things right between us.” is as crucial to being a good mother as any home cooked meal or favorite family tradition. And yet, in Scofield’s book, one can see so many times the mothers of her life simply could not or would not say those words. The nature of parenting and social mores in the 1950’s certainly had a fair influence on this, which photolady007made the times Sandra’s mother did make the attempt to say “I am sorry.” so much more powerful.

It also, I think, highlights the important role mothers have in this world – far beyond the role they may play in an individual child’s life. How many of us have “mothered” a lost soul, incorporating them into our family and most importantly our hearts? How many of us have become “mothers” to community and church organizations, bringing them up to the best they can be in our own fallible human ways?

I also find that my definition of “mother” has grown over the years, as has the people who are “mothered”. Far more than a son or a daughter, more than a child, Mothers can, and often are, the linchpin of entire extended families, of groups of people working toward a common cause, or churches, and of communities. That role of mother to such groups is important, and is often the catalyst to just the kind of peace that the founder so sought to celebrate.

At the same time I thought of mentors in my various careers who went the extra step into the deep caring that marks “mothering”, David’s essay also reminded me of all the “mothers” in my life who, for whatever reason, have essentially vanished from my life, and how much that vanishing damaged and hurt the “child” I was to them. It reminded me of how much it still hurts, eating at the inner 6 year old in me who simply wants a hug and an “I love you” from Mommy.

It brought back that in some respects we never completely finish grieving for the mothers we lose – be they biological, unofficial, grandmas, or those older wiser friends who step in to the mothering role. Be it death, distance, willful abandonment, or illnesses like dementia, the loss of a mother is a profound loss not only for the “child” – whatever age they are -, but the entire extended family, and quite often for the communities they were active in – the fields they worked in, the churches they helped grow, and the civic organizations they ran.

While the intent was to create a holiday celebrating those mothers who worked unceasingly for peace and against war overseas, and the author is correct that it has been in some sense bastardized by commercialization, the original kernel is still there.

There is still so much need for mothers who will work for peace, and still so much that can seem like a war right in a family or community, that only true mothering love can really mitigate.

When a mother, however defined, leaves a family, a child, or a community, there is a loss far exceeding the simple semi-orphaning of one or two individuals. In that respect, I see everyday as Mother’s Day, and as a celebration of those “mothers” (including the author) who stay, who keep the ties that bind a family or a community together even when it would be easier to run away.

While I recognize that some mothers do abandon the God given role they have because they are simply too mentally ill themselves to manage even the smallest effort, I know too that there are a good many mothers who run away, who leave, out of lesser reasons that have more to do with no longer wanting to live up to the calling laid before them. I know that there are mothers who leave for the very selfish, often commercialized, pursuit of “me, mine, money”. In those situations, all one can do is grieve, put one foot in front of another, and attempt to forgive them.

While in many respects, her biological mother, like me, was unable to be a heroic constant saint because of the serious health issues she battled all her life, in the end the author made peace with the fact that her mother did, in fact, have some golden nurturing peace-making moments, and did the best she could before dying at a much too early age. She also moving wrote of the other “mothers” in her life – the Sisters at her convent based school, the Grandmother, the Aunts, even the peer friends who stepped in and provided the adolescent Sandra with a “mothering” care.

Reading the book, then David’s essay, I found myself questioning my deep seated fear that I was not a good mother because of the disabilities inflicted on me by years of violent physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. I realized that, much like Scofield’s mother, I had quite simply done the best I could do with the abilities I had. I was able to appreciate that there were a good many times I was more than just a mother. I was an exceedingly good mother. Not just to the kids who I had custody of, or gained as I married or partnered with people who had children already, but I “mothered” well to a Girl Scout Troop, to a gang of kids who were friends with my kids, to a small group of young adults in a small town who were homeless, hungry, and often lacking in any hope of things getting better. I “mothered” young welfare to work participants, and guided them at least a few steps towards independence. I “mothered” community organizations and 3 different Catholic denominations.

I am known for leaving the doors open, forever, to any of the 15 “kids” God has graced my life with, and I take great comfort, now in a sort of medically induced exile with MS complications, when I get the Facebook messages photos and chats from ex-foster kids and ex-stepkids who for many years were closer to me than my “forever’s”.

Does it lessen my pain and guilt that I let down one daughter so badly that for now she will not talk to me? No, it does not. It mother_daughter_victorianis a cross I carry everyday that the answers she sought from me, waited over a year for me to find, were discovered in a file box two months after she left my life. It is a suffering that I doubt will ever go away, and which would have overwhelmed me had it not been for that tiny silver thread…that down deep she knows I love her and she know that I will never close the door to her. Even if she never comes back, I know that once I am healthy enough a copy of what I did find, along with whatever my multiple sclerosis damaged brain can recall, will get put together, and I will reach out to anyone who might know where I can send it that she will eventually receive it. I know that she may never contact me again, that she may decide that the failures I had as a mother do not measure up to the good things I did. I cannot control anything she or any of the other kids feel or think, especially those who spent a lifetime being brainwashed by my abuser.

I know that her leaving me, and my having to come to grips with that fact means that I must someday at least consider if my repeated attempts over the years to reestablish even some minimum relationship with some of the mothers I have had to walk away from to save my sanity is worth it.

By my daughter’s actions, the possibility arose in my conscience that yes, I too could leave my “mother” or even leave more than one of the women who have been “mothers” to me. While in the past my then fiance and I had to put some boundaries up because the communications with some of the mothers in my life had become simply to damaging to my fragile hurt inner child, it wasn’t until the morning we were to be wed that I had to face the reality that in marrying, I was going to be putting Brian and his son first in everything, and that while it was hoped that those “mothers” and others who either passively or actively engaged in actions to damage our relationship would change, I had to make a stand befvictoriangirl_inframeore god to “forsake all others” for Brian. I did, and even though the marriage ceremony had to be called off due to both of us having health crises, I never wavered in that vow except for the when we separated. In large part, even then I did not waver. It was almost impossible for me to consider doing anything that would hurt Brian or his son. It was as if every part of being “the mother” in our family was still there. The commitment was quite simply the same as each time I held a newborn of mine, signed a foster agreement, or walked out of a courtroom of family court.

David’s essay brought home to me that there are vows that one takes as a mother or a wife that are so deeply spiritual, so integral to one’s soul, that to simply break them is just impossible to comprehend. In reading the book, I was able to find some measure of peace in the grief that bubbles up to the surface when I am most in need of the closest Mothers I had who are now, for all intensive purposes gone.

One is long dead from a battle with Alzheimer’s, another radically changed in personality by the cruel damage of depression and loneliness. One is separated by religious ideologies that simply can’t be set aside to keep the peace and the relationship, even if we could manage the distance between us. One of the dearest to me these past 4-5 years was forcibly pushed away from being the confidant I could talk to about anything by other family members deep in the throes of Female Relational Abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence, who actively worked to try and destroy me body and soul. One mother very simply became worn out, burned out, from decades of care-giving both at home and in careers, and no longer capable of maintaining a relationship with a crippled “daughter” who keeps refusing to die.

It is still an uncomfortable concept, that perhaps I am being called by God to leave, to stop the frequent attempts to build even the most simple lines of communications with these mothers of mine. I often feel as if I am contemplating turning the midday sky orange instead of blue, of going profoundly against “the way things should be”. Scofield had the leaving of her mother be a permanent thing because of her death, but over time she had to settle within herself if the other “mothers” were people that she could continue to relate to, talk to, visit with, even if they were people who had hurt her, or left her and gone so far she literally had to hunt them down. In David’s essay, he in the role of “mother” to his child, continues to work and sacrifice to make the trips to her Grandmother not just because of the overblown commercial holiday, not just because he is this woman’s son, not just because it’s “the right thing to do”. He travels and sacrifices to bring Grandmother and granddaughter together so that the relationship can thrive, grow, and be a comfort to both of them. He is doing the work of mothering, of peace bringing, or maintaining the family ties.

In the end, it is the Mothers like David, like the one I met who is battling two state agencies to reunite her family, the one who along with her family has “adopted” the whole me – the writer and the cripple, the one who helps out and the one who can only lie in a bed wracked in pain – the ones who go to court against police brutality for the sake of the neighborhood they love, that are the heroes of Mother’s Day. Those mothers” are the ones who deserve our highest praise, admiration, and support.

But we should never forget that even the mother’s like me and Scofield’s – limited by disability, or overwork, or by today’s crushing American poverty – even we have our moments of greatness as Mother’s, and even we can keep the doors open, be willing to say “I’m sorry”, and be willing to do our best each day. And for us, everyday is Mother’s Day.

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Some  Image(s) courtesy

VintageHolidayCrafts.com and

http://wordplay.hubpages.com/hub/scroll-work-Victorian-designs#slide753879

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Ungrateful Generation, And A New Evangelist

UnUngrateful Generation, And A New Evangelist

by Brenda Eckels Burrows, aMGC

(c) July 4, 2015

Daniel Amos, a young man from Australia, started a “public figure” page about himself in July 2013. A Christian who has not decided to name a particular path of Christianity He is following, somehow got involved in wanting to put out something different and more meaningful than his humor skits. At the time he was very interested in helping people who suffered with issues of self harm and suicide. He was quite frank that he “was not a Dr. Phil or a preacher”.

An evangelist was born, sending out a fairly consistent message that we have much in this life to notice, to live for, and to be grateful for – even as he laments how his generation seems to be so very far from such values.

May 14, 2015 he produced a 2minute video on that particular topic – How his generation seemed to be unusually ungrateful. It was a simple, powerful message that almost everyone has at least one thing to be grateful for, and that his generation in particular had in many cases become a group of “whining gimmie gimmie brats” (those are my words) instead of taking time to be more grateful for what they did have.

There was also an undercurrent that basing your personal happiness on that significant other, that motorcycle, that new job or new house – in short, that rampant consumerism, the turning climbing the corporate ladder into a religion, and the latching onto a single person as the only way to happiness were they most evil of the snares that could lead someone away from true happiness.

You can see this video at https://www.facebook.com/ItsDanielAmos/videos/1204682703062089/?fref=nf

Since it was posted on a Facebook group that is part of my online community TodaysCatholics.Com, my first thoughts were practical. I could see this as an excellent addition to a youth mass, CCD program, or other event directed at tweenies and teens, young adults.

However the lesson he is teaching is a valuable one for any age. Where, I asked in the group, in our Sunday (or other day) masses do we most have the opportunity to express how grateful we are to God, to those around us, to our environment, and to ourselves for being humble enough to realize that it isn’t all about us?

Personally, it hit me in a different sense.

I have been through, and in some respects am still going through one of the most challenging years to my body, mind, money, and soul since 2006. Between surviving the unexpected death of my cousin when she was 13 and I was 11, escaping a domestic violence filled marriage in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the loss of a beloved spouse to addiction and infidelity just months after celebrating the new millennium, to the devastation of learning that my already disabled body and mind now had to battle for survival against multiple sclerosis in 2006, I had always been able to rebuild, to start over, and to find many things to be grateful for.

I had found a religious vocation, a deeper faith. I had made new friends, developed a new family, and for someone who doubted very much she would live long enough to see her “forever” children have kids of their own, I had the supremely joyful experience of a daughter I loved and was very good friends with who blessed me with the two most beautiful grandchildren one could ever ask for. I got to be a bridesmaid at her wedding, and got to enjoy all the little things a mother loves when one of their kids wed. I launched and ran a non profit that helped people for several years. I discovered a passion for growing, especially roses of all kinds. I met and fell in love with a man who is to this day my best friend, and in my late age got to be a step-mom to a great kid, rounding out the forever’s, the ex-steps and the ex-fosters to make a nice final number of 15 kids who had graced my life.

Taking Franciscan values to heart, growing our own food, mending our clothing or shopping at thrift shops, and carefully budgeting, my love, my best friend and I enjoyed so many of the good things that came with living in a cabin with lake access, buying a used, relatively inexpensive Harley, and taking a once in a lifetime trip on it that will be a treasured memory for both of us the rest of our life. I had so much to be grateful for, and so often prayed and said so.

domesticviolence2While it started slowly, the past three years, and in particular the period from August 2013 to now made those other troubles seem like mere scratches on the fender of a car.

The attacks, the circumstantial bad luck things, the intentional abuse, harassment, stalking, threatening each hit with the ferocity of a tractor trailer smashing into our beloved Harley Davidson Roadking, Black Cherry.

makenewfriends_brownie

The continuing stress from these events nearly destroyed so many of the relationships I held dear while it aggravated the physical problems I had.

I found out that it is more than a platitude: When disaster strikes, you find out who really is your family that will stand by you and support you, hold you up against the howling wind.

You really do find out which friends are true, and like the old Brownie Girl Scout song, they are more precious than gold or silver could ever be.

Even today, with a new career, the promise that two surgeries will once again allow me to get out of my wheelchair and sickbed more often, I battle so many different problems, grieve so many losses, and still have to hide much of my life for protection from those who, if they knew where I was, would stop at nothing to finish me off as permanently and finally as once was done by them to an innocent dog. Random bad luck things still happen, but now they happen to an older, sicker, and much more poor old lady who often needs propping up in the howling wind, only to turn around and find that no one is there.

It is very hard some days to feel any gratitude for what I have managed to hold on to – my faith, the true friends, my ability to write. It is easy to become consumed by the grief, the anger, the thirst for justice as a crime victim.

Daniel’s video was very much like having an IV bag of fluid that refilled my depleted body and helped heal my hurting heart. It was not a miracle cure that made everything ok. There are parts of the last 3 years that will never be ok. They will be survived, and like a soldier who saw too much battle, I will carry the scars forever. But the video did help to make me stop, and reflect that I am alive, and that is a sign God still has work for me to do. It made me think of the fact that God’s Amazing Grace would somehow allow me to do whatever it is he has planned for me, a subtle hint that perhaps yes, the surgeries will work. It refreshed my soul, and gave me the patience to deal with the little disasters, like the overdue phone call I woman_victorian_webwas supposed to receive today, and the worry that it was overdue again because the caller is simply too ill to call – again.

For video e-medicine to the soul, It worked quite well. Thank you Daniel. I will be watching to see how you grow up, and what else you have to say in the future.

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Filed under Catholicism, disability, Domestic Violence, Family, Life After The New Depression, Multiple Sclerosis and other Neurological Diseases, Not All Catholics Are Roman, politics, Religion and Faith

Lent of Prayer, Reflection, Success

Lots of Prayer

Lots of Reflection

Two big successes

Launched, after 3 years of working crazier hours than any disabled Grandma should…TodaysCatholics.com, an online community for ALL Catholics, regardless of denomination.

and, got this published…a news story

Seacoast Home & Garden Show planned for Saturday and Sunday

Happy, Happy Easter To All!

Brenda

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Light Of Your Glory

brendathewriter:

beatuiful!!! Oh Happy Easter!

Originally posted on The Bottom of a Bottle:

Light Of Your Glory (Psalm 65:8)

Here we stand
The faithful children
In the light of You glory
In awe of Your wonders
As the sun rises
We sing to Your name
And when the sun sets
We call praise to our Father
With thanks for Your grace
And the hope You place within us

Psalm 65:8 Psalm 65:8

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Pardon The Use Of The N Word

This is a very provocative poblack_bullet_crossst, but I am discussing and linking to it based on two reasons:

One it is entirely correct that a discriminated population may, of it’s own accord, decide to take back the derogatory terms used as slurs and to transform those words into something else.  In other words, it is OK for ME to joke about being a Slovak because I AM a Slovak, but no it would not be ok for YOU to insult me by yelling out “Hey you Slovak!” on a busy street.

Reason two is that we are in a charged atmosphere where far too many people are fighting or threatening to fight or trying to get their government to fight over religion, while we have far too many young black people dying from police brutality, and in their deaths we lose all the words that they might have said that could have transformed our lives.  This is not just a black thing, it is a people thing.

http://www.holyweekofresistance.net/blog-posts/2015/3/8/the-brief-life-and-times-of-a-nigger-from-palestine

Author: Rev. Osagyefo Sekou

My comment on the site where it appeared:

WOW. A powerful way of bringing to the forefront that Jesus was an outcast, and that the fact his story continues to resonate, that some of us continue to try and follow what he teaches, is a message that everyone needs to hear. He did come for all of us, and his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection birthed so many different groups of Jesus followers – some Jewish, some Samaritan, some Ethiopian (or other African), indeed counting his sending of the 70 apostles even before he was crucified, he touched people from a whole swath of the world at that time. Fantastic rendering of his story in short prose.

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Thirsty Moose Has A Happy Secret

Thirsty Moose Has A Happy Secret

by Brenda Ann Eckels, aMGC

Tuesday was a crazy day with lots of work, but I had heard a rumor that the Thirsty Moose had open mic on Tuesday evenings, and decided that a little adventure was in order to spice up my otherwise deary day. It turned out to be well worth the expedition.

The Thirsty Moose, with the motto “Live Free, Drink Beer and East Great Food” was easy to find right in the downtown Market Square area. Contrary to popular belief, the area not only has decent parking, but there is a large parking garage in walking distance. In addition, one can park at any one of the area Lafayette / Route 1 mall lots and take the trolley in for only $1.50 a trip (seniors and disabled half fare). There is bus service to a good portion of the rest of the city, and one of the trolleys also serves the transportation hub for out of townees.

President of the multi-owner watering hole, Zachary Kelly, proved to be an easy to talk to guy, but you can tell by his eyes on his tablet he is always keeping a close eye on the place. It’s a fairly full job, as the Thirsty Moose boasts 3 impressive bars, each of which has a large assortment of beers on tap. including more than a few I had never heard of. Upstairs features a “quiet bar” with no blaring TV or stage area – this would make an excellent place for a Meet and greet, and with 50 beers on tap plus an experienced bartender who can do any cocktail you desire, it sets the warm tone for the place. Further in the historic building is a larger bar that also has a good size table height seating are and a huge flat screen TV – easily 8 feet wide, along with some extra screens. While this is not a sports bar per say, you can bet the local Boston and New England teams get plenty of play, especially during important games. This bar is gorgeous with 67 brews on tap, and again great experienced bartenders able to do much more than just pour a cold brew.

The secret jewel of the Thirsty Moose however is the Basement Lounge Room. Already known by area locals for the assortment of bands you can find there on the weekends, this is a large space with another bar with 50 beers on tap, and another bartender well versed in every latest martini and I spotted a great selection of top shelf and lower priced drinks. The great things about the TM Basement is that it is large enough to handle a good sized crowd of partying folks (up to 120), but at the same time has a more intimate feel that is welcoming even to a non-alcohol drinker.

About the only disadvantage the historic building has, like much of Market Square, is that the Basement is not wheelchair accessible, something President Zach Kelly expressed a lot of interest in rectifying once technology and cost bring the ability to allow some sort of adaptation. Having seen the effort the owners have put into creating a gorgeous space with plenty of mingle room upstairs, and a truly multifunctional basement, I have no doubt that at some point in the future they will find some wunderkind architectural student with just the perfect idea to create more disabled access downstairs. As it was, this writer, who is a partial wheel user, found the staff fairly jumping over each other in the effort to assist me in getting safely down the stairs and settled comfortably into the room.

The TM Lounge Basement, in addition to the bar seating, has two separate bar height areas along the walls that have tables large enough for a full meal and a drink, plenty of bar height small tables that are perfect for a romantic couple to share a meal or for a foursome to share drinks and a common appetizer. The décor, a mix of black with red accents and plenty of historical details like the original decorative tin roof, has been enhanced with acoustic tiling and a killer sound system that Zack not so modestly calls “one of the best in the area”.

Once the music got going, I could see that he was not just talking trash, as the balance, pitch, volume, and bass were extremely consistent throughout the room. The stage, with a raised lip even my wheelchair could manage, is roomy enough that it could have handled a band with three lead singers, full drum set, keyboard, and perhaps one or two background singers. It is also large enough to handle some of the classical small ensembles, and even a small jazz or swing band would be able to find room to groove. Boom mics, a great assortment of lighting, while oriented a bit more toward rock bands, still had the ability to take the stage from dim lit Moody Blues to Poetry Slam and up comedy bright with a touch or two from the controls.

Probably the nicest surprise however, was that the TM Lounge Basement also features in the back of the room is a wrap around leather couch easily able to hold a party of 25 or so people comfortably. Think all the fun and glamor of a bachelorette party without the parking headaches, prices or long lines on Landsdown Street.

The Lounge Basement has plenty of flatscreens scattered around, but tonight only the bar one was on with volume set low enough not to interfere with the stage action. The open Mic is run in a very laid back, comfortable, no stress manner by Dana Brearley, who sings and plays electric guitar, and Dave MacLean, who sings and plays acoustic guitar. The two play off each other well, and even when they were obviously trading an inside joke they did so in a way the audience could get it and laugh along. They have a setup with access over wifi to YouTube karaoke and other web based music in case you are a singer who doesn’t carry your own CD of music, plus they collectively boast an incredible range of music they can play while you sing – everything from folk to rock, disco to R &B, and jazz.

The beginning of each evening features a 3 ( or 4 depending on how much humorous commentary they add) set by the duo, who show with each song that they truly enjoy jamming with each other. First up was a great hard hitting cover of the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and right off you could tell that these two are fearless at tackling any guitar riff or growling rock anthem vocal. The mood changed when the second song “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon was covered by Dave with a nice bluesy riff done by Dana on the electric. Played a bit more up tempo, but not as staccato as the original gave this a very nice feel I can only describe as “peppy blues”.

Song three, “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty sounded really different as they started with the instrumental beginning extended a bit and played very soft. The slightly slower than original tempo, combined with Dana’s sweet softer vocals (showing well his ability to control it) allowed the listener to almost taste the angst of the lyrics, and the addition later in the sing of Dave’s harmony led to very satisfying finish.

Last of the intro set by the duo was “Moondance” by Van Morrison, which was served straight up like a classic martini. Particularly nice was the bridge from verse 1 to verse 2, handled with aplomb by Dana.

A stop to have a humorous debate about the size of the crowd broke us up laughing. The crowd was smaller than the talent on stage would indicate, but as the evening grew later the room began to fill in with folks who heard the music wafting up the stairs and out to the street each time the door opened.

Of course, the best way to try out an open mic event is to jump right in, so I went up, and using a karaoke YouTube for lyric support and music, belted out one of my all time favorites “Life This Life” by Big and Rich, which garnered me enough applause (and a wolf whistle!) to brave another tune, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette. This also was greeted warmly, despite the fact I flubbed one line of the lyrics. I like open mic events that give grades and applause for the effort of getting up, even as they certainly do show the appreciation for good music or spoken word.

This evening didn’t have any of of the latter, but the mic and atmosphere is comfortable enough that a slam poet or amateur rapper could easily slide in and get onstage between music acts and fit right in. This is an open mic that any over 21 ex drama club member, choir singer, accordion player, or drummer could ump into and quite possibly find out that they know some of the same songs Dave and Dana know, leading to a 8 person jam session on the stage.

Another performer I liked was twenty something Erik, who hitched up his electric and did “Sweet Home Alabama” by Leanord Skynard with a very nice twang and just a small hint of innocence that made the lyrics more poignant and less redneck beer hall – an excellent version of this classic.

Erik’s second song, “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd had a totally different vibe slowed down and played with just the solo guitar. In some ways it made the lyrics sound more maudlin, and it suited the song well.

By 10:30pm, there was the inevitable small group celebrating a birthday, and these do not go unnoticed by the Dana Dave Duo – all one has to do is let let one of them, or Zach, who prowls around controlling the sound from his tablet, what the happy occasion is and who the lucky person is, and it’s on. Tonight, a lovely young birthday girl got to celebrate turning 21 with the Beatles’ “Birthday” that jumped out of the stage like a rocket “They Say It’s Your Birthday…” hard, biting, fast, and excellently done.

The hilarity, music, and singers continued until I headed out about 11:30pm, still listening to the great sounds floating up the stairs as I waited for a taxi home. I would be remiss however, if I didn’t mention that in addition to being a great bar with a cool Lounge Basement and what could grow to be a fantastic Tuesday night for musicians and poets of all stripes, Thirsty Mouse also has food.

I am not talking here about the typical one page bar food menu. I got there early enough to see one of the brick oven pizzas, piled high with meats and veggies, and ranging in price from $13 to $20, I found them to be more than adequate size for the money. The restaurant also has a great “Sammy” menu, including the “deconstructed” where you can mix meat, cheese, bread, and sauce in dozens of combinations and it comes in a ½ pound for $9.99 or a full pound (enough to share) for $14.99. Unlike many a bar I have been to, they offered some nice things for the vegetarians and vegans too – in particular a Mediterranean Veggie Wrap with hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots, field greens, and red onions (Vegans can hold the feta cheese). Finally, I saw with relief that they also offered a chalkboard list of more than one gluten free option.

The Beer Bites Menu takes a full page, and along with the usual favorites, again, the vegetarians among us were not forgotten, with a Hummus and Tabbouleh Platter for only $7.99. French Canadians in particular will be happy to know that the Thirsty also features Poutine Fries with the rich gravy topped with fresh mozzarella. My ex-mother-in-law would be in heaven, God rest her soul. Another nice touch is that the chicken wings are available in portions from dieting gal to lumberjack. There is an impressive list of 12 different dipping sauces for those and other appetizers…next time, I am curious as to what exactly “Western Apricot” might taste like on french fries instead of ketchup.

I had the garlic knots which was a great portion of 8 very generous pizza dough knots liberally brushed with butter and garlic and served with a spicy definitely-not-your-average marinara sauce. Usually the app comes with hand shredded Parmesan on the knots, which for those who like cheese must be simply divine. The dessert menu is a little small with 4 items, but considering the burgers, fish and chips, and other offerings, along with what looked like very generous portions on the various plates I saw, I think it is reasonable that cheesecake, peanut butter pie, fried dough balls, and Boston Cream Pie be the choices to finish a meal.

I am not sure how the restaurant handles functions and young ones in general, but there must be some times when families can come in as they had a cute, reasonably priced kid’s menu with the mac and cheese, pizza, hot dog, and chicken fingers that are any toddler or school age kid’s staples. $6.50 includes the meal and a glass of milk.

Times are tough for a lot of folks, even though the “recession” is supposedly over. It is just not enough to sit there in your cubicle on Tuesday and hope for the night of Hump Day to get through the week. Change it up. Grab the guitar, harmonica, song list, poem, or whatever, bring a few dollars, and head to the Lounge Basement at Thirsty Moose on Tuesday nights from 7 to whenever. Take all the workplace stress out on a killer riff or great anthem song, sing something silly and fun, or shock the crowd with up to the minute slam poetry that has a razor edge. Shock your twenty something kids, still living at home, with a great rendition of Pat Benatar or Dire Straights. Shock your oh-so-old parents with Pink’s “Perfect”. Dare your date to add to that jazz number with the trumpet they play so well. Or, just sit back, enjoy one of 50 different beers, and listen, dance, laugh, and enjoy. Your week will seem to fly by that much faster, trust me.

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Filed under event review, Music, poetry

Life Is Messy

Life Is Messy

by Brenda Eckels Burrows ©2001,2015

Life is messy

She thought as she cleared

The hairball off the rug.

But in there

Among the mud pies

And the dirty diapers

The Gak and the Play Doh

And dirty socks

Under the couch.

In there is magic

Soft noses nuzzling

Kitten purrs, dog kisses

And bright DayGlow smiles

Friends, Family, Pets

And Home.

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Filed under Family, poetry