The Purse

My mother is a tiny woman, fragile and small. She loves fashion and style. She loves fishing but never without lipstick, jewelry and attractive attire. My mother is an expression of opposites.

This small woman who weighs less than 100 pounds, still carries a purse that weighs 62. She has always carried this albatross like an anchor, holding her little body firmly fixed in time.

Grown men, large strong men, longshoremen-kind of men have complained about the weight of her purse, but she will not be without it; she won’t trim it down.

Her purses are custom made of imported leathers and have several zipper compartments in which you might find nail clippers, a screw driver, address book, make-up, wallet, checkbooks, hair combs, hand lotion, dental floss, car keys, extra car keys, silver hair clips, fishing line, department store receipts, pens, pencils, cell phone, stamps, calculator, paperclips, needles with thread, toothbrush and perfumes. If she is headed out for the evening, you can add white gloves and jewelry. This is only the surface, the part I might recognize from a glance.

I have offered to carry her albatross over the years, especially during periods of frail health, but tire after a few short blocks.

Mom, you can’t continue doing this. You have to carry less. Surely, you don’t need all this stuff!

She smiles and takes the bag from my arms. It’s okay honey, I’ll carry it now, I’m used to it.  She shoulders her leather anchor, moving forward with ease.

At the end of her medical appointment, the doctor picks up her purse, loses his balance and stumbles from the weight. Verse, what have you got in this thing? For heaven sake!  She pays him no mind, slips it over her shoulder and walks out.

I suppose we will bury her with that purse. I can’t imagine her doing without it.

 written 10-16-08