My mother promised Cousin Robbie that she would bring a dish to the family reunion. It would be potluck. “Sure, no problem, I'll fix two large pans of spaghetti. Jennie will help.”
It was years since the Robinson and Gordon families assembled, especially in the Chicago area. I remember vaguely getting in the car with my mom, dad and little brother; traveling to Green Lake Forest preserve for a day of food, fun and sunshine. That was eight years ago.
"How are we going to fix spaghetti?", I thought, after mom hung up the phone. Dad's only working part-time, and we try to keep mom out of the kitchen, because she drinks too much. Sometimes, I help dad cook --- just basic stuff. Mom is really the cook.
But, the last time she tried to fix fried chicken, she fell asleep. When my little brother and I came home from school, smoke was everywhere – and the drumsticks were shriveled and black. That night, we ate rice and corn for dinner.
Being fourteen, I understand more now about my mother's drinking problem. It's not her fault. Things happened when she was young, I was told. Her dad drank alcohol and so did her brother. Her parents divorced – stuff like that.
Well, I still believe mom will get better. I read my bible every day and realize that I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus – and so is she. Also, Dad tries to help her, but gets mad and frustrated at times, more than trusting God.
“Mom, let's go to the store Saturday and get what we need for the spaghetti. I found a good recipe.”
“Ok,” she said wearily. That's fine.”
As we prepared to leave for the store Saturday morning, dad whispered, “Don't let your mom buy any alcohol” --- while slipping me an extra ten dollars --- just in case she was short on money. I put it in my pants pocket.
I was never worried much about her drinking in the daytime, because she never did. The concern was often due to the potential embarrassment at the store. Like getting to the cashier and realizing the money was spent on a bottle a few days ago. Mom would say softly, “Oh, I left my extra money at home. Just put that back, please.'
Mom was a very smart woman, but alcohol often clouded her judgment.
“I think we have everything. Do you have enough money?" I inquired, while feeling inside my pocket for the extra ten.
“Yes, I do. Don't worry about it.” Mom knew I worried.
As I stood behind her, noticing her agitation, drawn face and graying hair, I prayed to God to deliver my mother from this demon. It was not the first time I prayed and I continued to believe that God could do the impossible.
The spaghetti turned out great and everyone complimented her. Mom was an excellent cook –- and of course, I helped. The family gathering was fun. Mom and dad enjoyed each other.
Well, that was decades ago and mom is now deceased.
By the way, God answered my prayer, because at the time of her passing, nearly fifteen years ago, Marie Hanna Robinson had been sober for twenty-two years. What a testimony and what an awesome God we serve.
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