A gift for Mom

Last Sunday was Motherís Day. Itís a day that carries tension at my house because I donít want Ďthingsí for Mothers Day Ė or Christmas or for my birthday.

I am at the age that I want people to carry things away from my house, not add to my list of things I must care for.

So about five years ago, after repeating the mantra, ďIf it isnít going to recycle into sewage in the next 48 hours, please do not buy it,Ē I acknowledged that massage gifts were also appreciated. And so were truckloads of manure, if they came with labor to spread it, I warned.

Iím still pushing back when my family hints that Omaha Steaks might be a nice Motherís Day gift. My generous next door neighbor treats us with a basket of Harry and David pears every Christmas that I look forward to, but thatís about it when it comes to Christmas food baskets. Iím big on growing what I can, and oddly selective about the rest Ė except for coffee and liquor. Those items fall under my recycling standard, because I consume them as soon as the wrapping gets removed. Folgers and bottom-shelf liquor are equally appreciated.

You know the old warning: ďMirror, mirror on the wall. Iíve become my mother after allÖĒ

Iím there. And Iím not proud of it. Permit me to explain.

When my mom was in her 50s, after years of hearing her say, ďPlease, no more gifts,Ē I gave her a box of great cheeses one Christmas. I had to fight the crowd of customers at Rulli Brothers deli, who, like me, were doing last-minute Christmas shopping.

Mom was delighted. Cheese became my standard Christmas gift for the next two decades, to the chagrin of my siblings who had to come up with something equally appreciated, but never managed to even come close to my bulls-eye, cheesy hit.

Last Sunday, on my dining room table, wrapped in my best roll of gift paper, was a very heavy, beribboned box. It was from Italy.

Oh, God. Now what?

I didnít say it, of course, but all I could imagine was some sort of granite, religious icon, straight from the Vatican, the punishment a mother gets for sending her sons to parochial school.

Instead it was a box of Fratelli Olio Carli extra virgin olive oil. I was silent for just a moment. How did they come up with this, I thought.

Could it have been my feature story about olive oil having made its way to a gift shop in Durango?

Not a chance. They donít read the paper.

After the usual salutations and expressions of gratitude, I went straight to my laptop and Googled the more than century-old Fratelli Carli to see what I could find about this company.

Iím just learning about premium olive oil, although Iíve long appreciated the difference between what you pick off grocery store shelves and what you buy at Italian delis.

I made the first Caprese salad of the season Sunday night. I couldnít wait to break into one of 17-ounce bottles. Combined with an aged bottle of red wine vinegar, the dressing made from the oil was a treat beyond expectations.

I had a happy Motherís Day, after all.

What better gift on Motherís Day than findiní out this momma didnít raise no dummies? Huh?

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