There was a river nearby where manatees were often seen, and I tried for a sighting several times with no luck. Mom always saw them, and loved them. During one particularly bad year, she sent me a postcard featuring a photo of a mama and baby manatee swimming underwater together, which I tacked on the wall over my computer and looked at when I needed a dose of mother-comfort. Those big, bumbling things looked so graceful in their element. I tried to remember that ministry was my element, and that my mother was swimming alongside me all the time, sheltering me with her big flipper.
One time we went to try to spot the manatees, and Mom just about rolled the car into the water. She would never admit this, of course, just as she would never admit that she's the world's worst, worst, worst ever driver, but when we drove up to the edge of the water and she made a three-point turn, she almost landed us in the drink. I was hysterical.
No manatees that day, and MotherBang and StepdaddyBang sold the condo a few years ago.
But I was cheered to see my big, lumpy friends featured in the NY Times today:
They refer to them as SEA COWS.
Of course this makes me exceedingly and irrationally happy.
P.S. MotherBang is safely home from England. She took off from Manchester airport the other day, and one day later, a flight was delayed from the same airport due to a bomb threat. I had an attack of vertigo last night and it may be that I'm just dizzy with relief.