Sunday’s Column – And That Would Be Mimi

Apr 28, 2015 by

There is an old saying about not realizing what you have until it’s gone.

For me, one would be Mimi. Mother of the Little Black Dress, grandmother of the SONS of Thunder.

Which would also make her my mother-in-law for those at home keeping score.

And she adored me. And I her. So much so I don’t even know any mother-in-law jokes and would always frown when someone tried one on me.

Mimi was one of those unique individuals who literally had God’s grace dripping off her. And she was the female version of Will Rogers. She did not know a stranger.

Back in the late 1990s, the LBD and I met her at the airport in Juneau, Alaska, where we were living at the time. Mimi got off the plane surrounded by people. Three different men were carrying her luggage (before the “you can only carry onboard what’s in your pockets” rules). She was exchanging addresses and phone numbers with a couple of women and holding the hand of some child.

I don’t remember if we had some of those passengers over for dinner that night or not.

What I do remember is what we had for dinner.

You know how every now and then you get a hankering or “need a fix” of your favorite fast-food? Whether it’s a quarter-pounder, a chili dog, a chicken sandwich, fried chicken, or whatever from one of those national chains, at some point you cave and hit your favorite.

We are located in what is known as The South. In Alaska, the entire lower 48 was considered and called “Down South.” The advantage of being “Down South” is you can get in your car and pretty much satisfy any fast-food craving.

Not so in Juneau. When we were there, the only fast-food joint was a single McDonald’s. This in a town of 35,000. When a KFC/Pizza Hut combo opened up a couple years later, you would have thought the town was going to implode.

You have no idea how lucky you are. Imagine not being able to have a Chick-fil-A for months.

Anyway, back to dinner. Mimi had stopped off at a fast-food restaurant before she flew to Alaska. She got with the manager and the two of them packed our dinner.

Inside that cooler, which came all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma, were all the makings for a couple dozen Arby’s roast beef sandwiches. Yes, that’s one of my every now and then cravings.

The meat was all packed, the buns ready, and yes, plenty of Arby’s Sauce and Horsey Sauce. There were even detailed instructions on how to steam the buns and proper weights per sandwich.

There might have been a couple of those sandwiches left over from that dinner for breakfast.

Just one of a myriad of reasons why I loved her. It was not only her love for others, but the crazy way she never wanted to have anyone even seem to disrupt their plans for her.

It was early on the morning she was set to fly back to Tulsa. The Dress got up, came back in and said, “She’s gone.”

And I’m thinking, “Who’s gone?” And the LBD is like, “She’s at the airport. I know her.”

The Dress jumps in the car (the airport was only a couple miles away), goes through ticketing and convinces the stewardess to let her on the plane. Sure enough, there’s Mimi exchanging numbers and addresses with everyone sitting around her.

So picture The Dress crying in the aisle asking Mimi what the heck she was thinking and Mimi just responds with, “I didn’t want to wake you two up.”

That was Mimi. She would be 80 this week. The ravages of Alzheimer’s took her too soon. But we will see her again.

Cherish what you have. You never know when it – or they – will be gone.

 

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  1. Robin Aldan

    Thank you for the reminder of ‘Mimi’ Carlin. I was lucky enough to have known her back in Tulsa when Corby was still, practically, a baby. When you were ‘in’ with her you were ‘in’ and loved. She would have you over for dinner and I can still taste her spaghetti. Sometimes, she would speak about growing up in New Jersey, if I remember correctly, and one could tell that she missed it – it seemed so foreign a place in early 70s Oklahoma. But she was at home wherever she was and though she missed where she grew up, her love for Milton and her own family took precedence. I can say that she was a rock in my life at that time and I remember her with fondness and a great deal of love whenever I think of her.

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