I thought of my mother, who was never pleased with her first choice of a restaurant table. In a piece called “Having Her Way” in Still Here Thinking of You, I recall the ways in which she would – calmly but firmly – get what she wanted in certain situations, even once encouraging a group to give up their table so our family could sit there.
Her habits of persuasion appear in me from time to time. The other day, my daughter Kathy and I were reminiscing about a Richie Havens concert we’d attended a couple of years before. While he was singing a particularly gentle song, accompanied only by his guitar, a man and woman sitting directly in front of us decided to have a chat. I poked the woman on the back and told her to be quiet.
“You sounded so severe,” Kathy said. “It was kind of scary.”
“Well, they shut up didn’t they?” I said. “And don’t forget, I’m my mother’s daughter.”