Ribs, Camino and My Mom


This is a story I have never told – and I thought of it today while I was eating ribs… and meeting Lydia Smith (she doesn’t know she met me) who is the director/producer of the documentary  “Walking the Camino”.

She may or may not live in my neighborhood.  But she definitely loves BBQ.  So although we have only met – ok we sat at a table together – we share these two things in common: Camino & BBQ.

Back to my story.  Several years ago I travelled to London with my mom.  And we had a great time exploring the British Museum, the art galleries, listening to chamber music at St. Martins in the Field.  We visited many pubs and it was all delightful.

One night we were returning home late on the Tube.  And as much as I tried to ease the way for my mom during our travels, there are some things you can’t avoid.

Two London drunks sat on either side of my mom on the Tube – even though there were empty seats everywhere.  I was sitting across from her and immediately got nervous, waiting anxiously to see what would enfold.  Sure enough the two drunks thought they would have a little fun with this American old lady.

They were speaking in accents too strong for me to understand but body language and lewdness communicated enough and I waited for an embarrassing moment to occur.

One of the drunks leaned his head into my mom and rested it on her shoulder while his buddy on the other side of my mom laughed in jest at my mom.  Without missing a beat, my mom returned the head lean-in by leaning her head on the young man… and patted the young man on the shoulder.

Two drunk London thugs… their eyes couldn’t have been bigger.  And they both sobered enough to hug my mom and say “that would never happen if you were a Londoner.”

I sometimes forget how amazing my mom is – she takes situations like that and breaks down barriers and assumptions and welcomes the young and sometimes foolish into her life.


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