Powdered Sugar

"Do not go near it," said my mom.
"No buts."
The reason we'd been following the truck around was because it was sending out a high pitched noise that sounded like a spaceship.
"They are spraying the mosquitos," she added.
And then, there in the tiny kitchen on the corner of Rosa and Belin, sometime in the early sixties, she handed us warm brownies dusted with powdered sugar. That was the day she saved her six kids from developing holes in their brains by running behind a DDT spraying machine.
But, that is not the reason I miss her.
She saved us from ourselves lots of times.
It is not because of those brownies either.
I preferred the blonde ones.
Lately everything reminds me of her.
For instance, this fresh dusting of snow.
Powdered sugar brownies.

I was merely pulling into my driveway when I flashed back to the little kitchen.
My mom loved geraniums, Estee Lauder perfume and my dad.
She was pretty, she was zesty and she was sharp tongued.
She did not care for houses painted blue, spilt milk or the improper use of the English language.
"Unthaw isn't even a word," she told me.
I once took a survey and found that most people like ferries. Some people love ferries. One guy proposed to his now wife, on the ferry. There were a few who were indifferent. And there was one individual who absolutely despised them.
She was my mother.
My mom didn't feel this way toward all car toting vessels.
Just the local one.
"I pulled up to the G.D. ferry and it pulled away!" would be her greeting.
She always rolled snake eyes when it came to the timing.
To understand her lack of ferry compassion you should know that my parents built their retirement home on the Merrimac side of Lake Wisconsin. To get to the other side, which would be this side, a person can drive around it or they can be pulled across by an underwater cable.
The Merrimac Ferry is the only free ferry left in the entire state of Wisconsin, which means that summers hold long lines of families heading to Devil's Lake State Park, Derward's Glenn or to the place my parents once lived.
There is an ice cream stand strategically situated on each end. Both are next to a green space typically dotted with kids, dogs and frisbees.
It's a Norman-Rock-in-well, good kind of a time complete with snow cones and motorcycles.
"That damn thing better be free," she would snarl.
Years ago there was talk of building a bridge.
"What a novel idea," she'd said.
However this particular brainstorm caused a controversy between the nostalgia lovers and my mother.
The bridge was voted, "Nay."
The moment she learned that her tax money would go instead toward a new ferry that would hold up to three more cars, I was grateful that I did not live on her side of the lake.
And then, just like that, my parents packed up and moved out of the house that my dad built.
They were like a couple of newlyweds in a condo with a room spacious enough for my granddaughter to do consecutive cartwheels.
This new location is where they finally sat back and put their feet up. They left the ferry in their rear view mirror, although my father was still often seen in line for ice cream.
Time marched on.
People come and people go.
It was my dad's turn to leave.
Ten years later it was my mom's.
No matter how hard you try, you can not mend a broken heart.
You can merely keep one busy.
So, keep it busy, is what we did, for a decade.
That is what I think I miss as of late.
All the singing and dancing to make my mom smile.
I should take a trip over to that landing and go for a boat ride.
I would like to dump this bucket of emptiness over the side of it.
"What's that?"
Hang on, my sister is talking.
Louisa says I'd better hurry up before it shuts down for the winter.

That G.D. Ferry better not shut down before I get there.


"Oh Honey, this is your mother speaking. It will be shut."


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