I saw a movie last night that brought up a whole host of questions. And who better than Mom to pepper with?
"Mom, is Jon Voight drunk all the time, or just when he's acting?"
"What are you talking about?" Mom was eating a slab of something, juice of something glistening on her chin of something. "Are you going to eat all your cheesy chili fries?"
"I just saw a movie about heaven. You know, the afterlife. The hereafter. The big spa treatment in the sky."
"I need another napkin. Where did our waitress go?"
"Do you think you'll be married again to Dad in heaven?"
"What? Your father? No!"
"Don't be ridiculous, please. Now give me those fries."
"Well, who will you be with?"
Mom shrugged, mouth abulge. "I'll be a pure spirit."
"Playing a harp?"
"Maybe. I don't know."
"But can't they just pipe in the harp music? Or do they need actual dead people to play? Isn't there a union of harp players?"
"Please don't make light of my faith. It's not funny."
"I'm just trying to understand. Did cavemen go to heaven? And, if they did, were they still cavemen or something more like us? What about the retarded?"
"Don't say that. It's not a nice word."
"Will Gary Coleman still be really short? Or will he be tall, and when you see him you'll try not to overreact and make a big deal about him being so tall now? Mom?"
Mom was turning red. In years past Mom had evinced a deep love for the Colester, but I was surprised by the intensity of her feelings.
"I'm sure Gary will like you too, Mom. In fact, what am I talkin' about? I bet he... Mom?"
Mom fell to the carpet, clutching at her throat. People came running It was a big spectacle. I managed to get Mom upright and clear her breathing tube.
"Mom! Mom! Are you all right?"
Tears in her eyes, she nodded. Everyone calmed and then resumed their dinners. I helped Mom back into the booth. We sat in silence for a moment.
"So what was it like?"
"Heaven? Were you there for a few seconds when you passed out?"
Mom stared at me a long moment. Finally she said, "I was heaven, yes. But I'm not going to tell you. You'll just have to find out by going to church with me next Sunday."
NEXT WEEK: Church as an inducement to eternal bliss = FAIL