Mother Mary was full of wisdom.
Not that she always delivered it kindly.
And even though she’s gone, I have her advice in my head most of the time, and because of the way it was delivered, it’s easy to remember.
Like an auditory hallucination, but in a good way.
I know I’m not the only one who still hears her late mother’s voice. I sincerely hope that my voice rings in Francesca’s head every day of her life, so that I won’t have mothered in vain.
I hope she’ll remember little things I told her like, “Don’t be late.”
And big things like, “Be yourself.”
And really important things like, “Chew your food carefully.”
Honestly, you could choke to death.
And if you do, don’t come crying to me.
That was another of Mother Mary’s great expressions.
I can think of what Mother Mary would say on almost any occasion, even how she would respond to a news story.
Like the one about Barbra Streisand.
You may have read that Barbra Streisand had a dog named Sammie, which she loved so much that when the dog passed, she had Sammie cloned. As soon as this news came out, everybody had an opinion, overwhelmingly negative, and Streisand wrote an editorial in the newspaper explaining herself, which was headlined “Why I Cloned My Dog.”
But let’s rewind.
As soon as I heard what Streisand had done, as well as everyone’s negative reaction, I thought instantly of what my mother would have said. Growing up, when I would suggest she do something another way, like take the spaghetti out of the boiling water earlier or add less sugar to the tomato sauce, she would look over at me, take her cigarette out of her mouth, and say:
“Who asked you?”
And that’s exactly the voice I heard when I read about Streisand.
Mother Mary never went with the popular view.
She was Be Yourself to the bone.
And she would say that if Barbra Streisand loved her dog so much that she cloned it, do you know whose business that is?
She didn’t ask us.
And she doesn’t have to explain anything to us.
She was just Being Herself.
And she’s allowed to want what she wants.
After all, she didn’t ask us to chip in.
She was even criticized for spending her money that way, which brings up another thing Mother Mary always said:
“Don’t spend other people’s money.”
Before I continue, let me explain that I know how important it is to rescue dogs. I myself have rescued dogs, cats, and even horses. I give plenty of money to dog shelters and I’m willing to bet that Streisand does too. In fact, as she explained in the article she shouldn’t have had to write, she also rescued a dog after Sammie’s death.
Because she has that big a heart.
People, did you see Funny Girl?
Didn’t you cry your eyes out?
Do I need to remind you that she’s Barbra Effing Streisand?
By that I mean, this woman possesses the most fabulous voice I’ve heard in my lifetime. And every decade, she has made movies and sung songs that everybody can recall in an instant. Don’t you have misty, watercolor memories?
So don’t rain on her parade.
This is a woman who has put so much good into the world through her sheer talent and hard work that she makes me cry practically every time she sings. I have a great girlfriend named Sandy, and we can talk and cry about Streisand for hours. We even went to a Streisand concert and cried there.
Because people who need people really are the luckiest people in the world.
And so are people who need dogs.
We shouldn’t begrudge Barbra some happiness after she missed her beloved dog. In fact, she kept not only one cloned puppy, but two.
I can relate.
If I eat one slice of pizza, I always want another.
We live in a time when everybody has an opinion and expresses it loudly on social media, but that doesn’t mean anybody needs to listen, much less agree or obey.
Their cause doesn’t have to be your cause.
For example, I’m a vegetarian, but I don’t expect you to be.
You do you, boo.
I have four Cavalier King Charles spaniels and I love them all. Who knows, I might end up cloning them.
OK, maybe not Boone, who’s crazy.
But definitely Peach.
And if I get a houseful of Peaches, I would hope everybody understands.
But in truth, it doesn’t matter whether they do or not.
I hear you.