And now for something completely different...
                      My mother's visit   by Christian Livemore
                      My mother is visiting for the holidays.

                      For many of you, this phrase may conjure up images of a sweet, grey-haired
                      old lady baking cookies and making chicken soup and being generally proper and motherly.

                      Obviously you have not met my mother.

                      It’s not that she’s a bad mother. She’s just not like anybody’s else’s mother. Ever.
                      In the history of mothers.

                      This is a good thing, you’re thinking. Keeps life interesting.
                      It certainly does that. And it may be a good thing. Only my therapist can know for sure.
                      It certainly leaves me no shortage of writing material.  But it also adds almost daily to the
                      list of places where I’m afraid to show my face.

                      I go into restaurants and people say, “I saw your mother’s picture in the paper.”

                      “That’s not my mother,” I lie.

                      But they know I’m lying, of course, and they proceed to tell me all about how they laughed
                      and laughed over my mother’s latest antics and how they just can’t get over the things she does.

                      “None of us can,” I tell them, and they laugh some more.

                      For instance.

                      A few years ago my mother was involved with a n'er-do-well named Joshua.
                      Well, actually he was not really named Joshua in the sense that he was given that name at birth.
                      He changed his name after an unfortunate incident in New Hampshire in which he beat the living
                      hell out of a police officer led to a warrant being issued for his arrest.

                      So in New London and under his new name, Joshua was facing charges for some other crime.
                      (It's so hard to keep all the crimes straight with Joshua, there were so many.)
                      My mother put up $2,000 to bond Joshua out of jail.

                      On the morning of his trial, my mother waited outside the courthouse
                      for Joshua. 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, he still had not arrived.

                      Court was about to be called into session.

                      So what did my mother do?

                      She went across the street to a pay phone and called in a bomb threat
                      to the courthouse.

                      "I heard your mother called in a bomb threat at the courthouse," folks
                      said to me for weeks afterwards.

                      "That's not my mother," I'd say.

                      And they'd laugh.

                      But wait, there's more.

                      My mother once got kicked out of Boston.

                      Yes, I mean the entire city of Boston, Massachussetts. She doesn’t remember exactly
                      what she did. (Those were my mother’s wild years.) All she knows is that one minute she
                      and her friend Barbara Papasefakis were in a local McDonald’s and the next minute they
                      were being escorted to the city limits by Boston Police, who agreed not to press charges
                      on the condition that my mother never come back.
                      I swear to you I am not making this up. As I write this, my mother is composing a letter
                      to Boston city officials to find out if it is okay to return.

                      But that was 25 years ago. Since my mother has changed her ways, you’d
                      think things would calm down a little, wouldn’t you?

                      Well, you’d be wrong.

                      My mother, who lives in New London, Connecticut where I grew up, has
                      carved out for herself a singular local reputation.

                      My mother is an agitprop. Agitation and propaganda. She is at any given time being sued
                      by at least one party. At the moment she has three lawsuits pending against her. One for
                      agitation, one for propaganda, one for both.

                      All three stem from a local cable access show my mother hosts called Views from the Edge
                      of the Field. This title represents both my mother’s politics and the distance we have to travel
                      in my home state to go out in public without being accosted by someone my mother has either
                      agitated or propagandized.

                      One of my mother’s pet peeves is eminent domain. New London Development Corporation
                      (NLDC) has been using eminent domain to seize some of the oldest riverfront houses in the city
                      in order to tear them down and create space for various industrial and commercial development.

                      My mother has been crusading against this.

                      The first of the lawsuits involves a New London landlord known locally as Joey the Roach, who
                      earned his nickname because all of his properties are infested with cockroaches. Joey has an
                      assistant, known locally as Jake the Snake because only a snake would work for Joey the Roach.

                      Joey and Jake are involved in the eminent domain seizures going on in New
                      London. So naturally they are frequent targets on my mother’s TV. show.
                      And one day on the air my mother called Jake a transvestite.

                      He is not a transvestite (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and
                      he’s suing my mother to prove it.

                      The second lawsuit pending against my mother was filed by the United States Coast Guard,
                      who did not take kindly to their recent portrayal on my mother’s show.

                      One of the parcels of land NLDC seized was numbered Parcel 139, and was
                      recently purchased by the Coast Guard for the site of their new research facility.

                      So my mother broadcast her show that week, with former New London mayor
                      Lloyd Beachy as her co-host, from inside a rowboat in front of City Hall.
                      The rowboat’s name was U.S.C.G.C. Parcel 139. My mother and Lloyd were
                      decked out in yellow rain slickers, hats and galoshes, and every few minutes a
                      stagehand standing off-camera doused them with a bucket of water.

                      And no, I am not making this up either.

                      The third lawsuit was filed by the director of the NLDC, a woman (first name Clare)
                      who also served until recently as the president of Connecticut College.

                      My mother sent out a mass e-mail to her entire mail list including a doctored picture
                      with Clare’s head pasted on Demi Moore’s infamous pregnant pose for Vogue Magazine,
                      and urging the recipients to write Connecticut College demanding Gaudiani be investigated
                      for embezzlement.

                      Agitation AND propaganda.

                      This would be truly outrageous behavior on my mother’s part except that, as it turns out,
                      Clare WAS using an extraordinary amount of the college’s funds for dubious purposes and
                      was terminated from Conn College the following week. My mother is expecting that lawsuit
                      to be dismissed any day now.

                      My mother is leaving Georgia on January 5. The past month has been one long dizzying effort
                      on my part to prevent my mother from accompanying me to various events I cover throughout
                      the county.

                      As far as where she went unattended during her stay here, all I can say is I’m sorry for anything
                      she may have said or done, and all lawsuits should be sent to my mother directly, care of
                      Views From the Edge of the Field.

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