Photo and Text by Cooter Adkins
my mother stopped in unexpectedly today. i was wearing a tshirt and
pants that were loose and worn-in from a few days wear. my tattoos and
sunburn were glaring at her wherever my skin wasn’t covered and i
looked and felt older and far more tired than i have other times she’s
seen me. i normally only go to visit her and my father when i look as
good as i possibly can.
she saw this photo and says, “i’ve never seen that before. it looks
like she’s going to shave your head. who is she?”
“that’s a friend of mine, mom. i shot that in los angeles almost three
“it’s a good picture.”
“most people like it,” i said to her.
she followed me into my room to get the engagement ring she gave me
that belonged to my grandmother. she gave it to me when the likelihood
that i’d be married was much higher than it is now. she’s getting it
sized so it will go with the wedding ring that matches it.
“what are those computers?”
“that’s where i edit photos, mom. that other one is the one i use to
i started back to work on some of the stuff that i’ve been editing and
showed her some things my uncle posted on the internet. she looks at
her mother’s photo and says, “she was beautiful there.”<br />
“she’s always been a pretty woman, mom. she’s just older.” i haven’t
seen my grandmother in the nursing home down in georgia, though, so
who am i to say that she’s still beautiful? another wilted southern
belle transplanted from maine whose accent has never faded but whose
youth and mind surely has.
mom was leaving to get the truck dust washed from its waxed surface.
in her way, she takes care of my father by keeping the truck clean and
food cooked the way he likes it and i guess that’s love after 40
i watched her carefully make her way down my narrow stairwell on two
artificial knees and realized we’ll always be our parents’ children.