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Tiny drops of moisture slid down the sides of the large glass pitcher of iced tea that sat on the table on Mary Rose McGill’s patio.
Her mask hanging from her ear, Hadley Joy Morris Whitfield looked at her phone once more.
“Where is she?” she asked no one in particular.
Sitting about four feet away from her, Robinson Leary simply shrugged.
Geoffrey, the Mastiff, rolled over out of the sun and farted.
Marge Aaron was missing.
Mary Rose stood and refreshed their glasses. The iced tea felt perfect on this warm July day in Omaha, Nebraska.
“Did you text her again?” Mary Rose asked Hadley as she sat the pitcher down..
Just as Hadley opened her mouth to reply, the patio doors opened and Marge Aaron rushed out, a large shopping bag swinging by her side.
“There you are!” Hadley said with a big smile.
Marge pulled her mask down to her chin, plopped the bag on the table by the pitcher and pulled up a chair.
“I have something for us,” she said. “And it’s serious.”
Marge seldom did anything that was not serious.
The retired homicide detective had seen it all, heard it all, and been a part of a lot of it.
She opened the shopping bag and took out four bright yellow tee-shirts.
She dug deeper into the heavy bag and pulled out four bicycle helmets.
“What is all that?” Hadley asked.
Marge held up a shirt.
Wall of Grannies was written in big letters on the front.
They were silent.
They looked at Marge and she looked back at them.
“I have had it up to here,” she said, making a slice across her neck with her hand. “I have watched four different accounts of the protests in Portland and the Wall of Moms.
They were all listening.
“A group of a few hundred mothers are forming a protective wall around the protestors. They’re wearing yellow shirts and helmets like these.”
She lifted one of the bicycle helmets and held it up. It was pink with a white daisy on it and the word ‘MOM’ on one side.
“They are protecting their children who are protesting,” Marge said.
Her voice caught and she looked down at the table.
They were all social distancing, and no one could reach out and touch her.
Then one of the strangest things they had ever seen happened.
Marge Aaron, tough cop, a cop’s cop, a large woman in a large job, began to cry.
They had never seen Marge Aaron cry.
They all waited.
“They are protecting their children from unidentified troops who are gassing them and ready to shoot them,” Marge stammered.
She paused for a moment and looked up. “The moms turned a slogan into a lullaby,” Marge said taking a deep breath.
She began to sing in a soft voice.
“Hands up……please don’t shoot me. Hands up……please don’t shoot me.””
It was indeed, a sad, gentle lullaby.
Marge Aaron could not sing, but no one said anything.
Geoffrey opened one eye and gave a soft whine.
“I saw that on TV,” Robbie said. “They locked arms and moved toward the secret troops who were disguised as the Army. And you are right. They were gassed. The moms were gassed.”
“The next night there were twice as many Moms,” Mary Rose added. “I saw it too, and the dads joined them, wearing the yellow shirts.”
They were quiet.
Dr. Robinson Leary, their resident scholar stood up, as if she were joining her friend who still had tears on her cheeks.
“Most of the protesters are young,” Robbie said, looking at them with her professor eyes.
“Do you know how young our ORIGINAL protesters were?”
She waited for an answer that didn’t come.
“Our founding fathers, our nation’s first protesters, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, were mostly young. Just grown children. Those young revolutionaries – Aaron Burr was 20, James Mason was 18, almost all were under 40.”
Robbie smiled a sad, sweet smile.
“And,” she said, “who was 21?”
They were all turned in their chairs facing her.
“Alex-and-er Ham-il-ton, Alex-and-er-Ham-il-ton,” she sang in the hip hop style of the musical, Hamilton.
Geoffrey opened one eye again and quickly closed it.
They had watched Hamilton in Robbie’s apartment three times. Robbie had loved it. Aaron Burr was black, George Washington was black and Eliza Hamilton’s sister was black. Eliza herself, Asian. The diverse cast had won every award possible and the girls had all loved it.
“They were children!” Robbie said.
“Doesn’t anyone remember what happened at Kent State?” Hadley asked.
They were quiet again.
Marge took another deep breath. “There’s something else,” she said softly.
“I’m a cop. I’ll always be a cop. I’m worried about the other side, too.”
“I heard the troops, and I can’t find out for sure who they are, but I heard the troops were hired mercenaries who were paid to disrupt and,” she took an even deeper breath, “and trained to kill.”
Marge stood up.
“But what if the other thing is true? What if these are kids themselves, untrained, who end up shooting a mom? What will they have to live with for the rest of their lives?”
She looked at each of her friends. “This is America, damn it!” we don’t shoot our own mamas or our own children!”
It was better having Marge Aaron mad than in tears.
Robbie smiled. “As the great and wise cartoon character, Pogo, said – We have met the enemy and he is us.”
“I want us to put on these shirts and helmets and take a picture for Facebook,” Marge said.
“We’re the Wall of Grannies and no matter what they believe, if they believe like we do or if they believe differently, we stand by moms who take a stand!”
“That was a complicated sentence,” Robbie remarked.
“I’m not wearing a helmet,” Mary Rose said. “I just had my hair done.”
“Then dammit, girl, hold it in your hand!” Marge said.
Mary Rose didn’t argue.
Marge took out her phone and called Alphonso Greatwood.
“Alphonso, we’re ready,” she said.
They slipped the yellow shirts on over the shirts they were wearing.
Each grabbed a helmet and just as Marge began to line them up Alphonso drove his scooter through the patio doors.
Wiley Vondra was right behind him, carrying his camera.
The girls lined up.
Geoffrey pulled himself up and limped over to sit beside Mary Rose.
Mary Rose McGill reluctantly sat the MOM helmet on her head.
The Wall of Grannies locked arms and looked seriously into the cameras and call phones.
“Looks good, Grannies,” Wiley smiled.
“I got it,” Alphonso said. “Definitely Facebook worthy.”
“What do you think of all this, Alphonso?” Hadley asked. seriously.
“Who the hell do you think bought the shirts and helmets?” the old linebacker said with a grin.
Note from Joy: I know this rings political but some things happened this past month that affected me deeply. One of my heroes, John Lewis died. Just after that, I watched the Wall of Moms in Portland, and thought about how those women, struggling through tear gas to protect mostly young protestors, were wearing Wonder Woman suits underneath their t-shirts. John Lewis sometimes repeated the famous words, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” It is time to speak out. If you disagree with this blog – let me know- speak out your opinion. If you agree, speak out, too, and let me know. We are too old not to give the nation our wisdom, ladies. BOOB Girls wear Wonder Woman suits, too – just a size or two larger.
Have some ideas? What should the girls be doing during this difficult time?
Send ideas and adventures to firstname.lastname@example.org
As they used to say on old time radio: Stay Tuned.
This looks like a long summer.
Time to read and give gifts.
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For another really special gift: Audio BOOK I, read by Sue Mouttet, the real Maggie Patten.
Be hopeful and save the date:
Sunday, November 22, 1-4pm
Launch Party for BOOB Girls XI: The Last BOOB Girl Book
New Cassel Retirement Center
900 North 90th St, Omaha, Nebraska
We want you there!
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