“You’ll spoil your dinner,” my mother used to say

with all the conviction of a nutritional specialist issuing pronouncements on the future of the species, as though one bite of the forbidden cookie would send shock waves through the culinary establishment. Mothers are like that. They speak in parables. They speak in circles. They speak in broad terms on multiple issues. They issue directives. They issue freshly washed clothing and recipes for fulfillment. They issue love at low interest, with long-term repayment options. I loved her because I was supposed to love her, even though it was hard sometimes. No, that’s not true. It was hard almost all of the time, she rigid of bent and unyielding in her convictions, a woman of God and little else. I used to call her ‘Mother Superior’ only half-jokingly. At least we kept our sense of humor. I wonder what my father kept hidden. I doubt that he ever had good sex. Maybe he didn’t care. Hey, wait a minute! That’s me!