Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rich’s tribute to Mimi

Whenever Mimi Tandler got to doing something, or got to be interested in something, or decided to be something, she did it all the way.

A lot of us have interests that are a mile wide and an inch deep, dabbling in a lot of things. Others of us, like me, go deep into a limited number of subjects, an inch wide and a mile deep.

Mom was different. She was in a mile wide and a mile deep. Whatever she took on, she took on full bore. When she became the wife of a military man, she could take on everything from black tie affairs to bashes that went on until the wee hours of the morning. She was a full-time Mom to the max, guiding the four of us through our lives with a hand that was both firm and gentle.

When she wanted to create an angel doll, she dove in, going from New York to China and many spots in between to create the Awesome Angels. When decided to write a true crime story she compiled volumes and volumes of notes and transcripts, met with dozens if not hundreds of fellow writers, read shelves and shelves of books and went into the belly of the beast to interview the convicted killer.

Nutrition, tennis, her grandchildren, the McLean Welcoming group, you name it, Mom was into it up to her elbows and beyond.

When it came to music, like everything else, she had a passion. Whenever she got into a certain song, she would play it over and over and over, lifting the needle and placing it back to the beginning of the song just as it ended. Among the songs she would obsess over were Scotch and Soda by the Kingston Trio and All My Loving by the Beatles.

The one song that Mom loved that stuck in my head was Raindrops keep falling on my head by BJ Thomas. Over the past week, I've had that song going through my head, and I've been thinking about why it was special to her. A look at some of the lyrics reveals why.

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me

It's like a musical version of this well-known prayer that is hung on the wall in the study that she and Dad shared.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the thing that I cannot change.
The courage to change the things that I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Mimi Tandler had the serenity, she had the strength and courage and she had the wisdom.

We're all sad, but thanks to you, Mom, we know that we're never going to stop the rain by complaining.

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