My mother and father spent last night hanging out at a gay club in Oak Park, Illinois. It's not like the clubs downtown in the city, the men are less beautiful, more tentative, more real than at the big clubs in Chicago. But there were strippers - "They were really handsome!" said my mother with conviction - and a dancefloor and loud music - "My ears are still ringing!" said my father after they arrived home.
The reason they went was to raise money for the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays organization my mother started. Another local branch of the organization recommended it. My mother gave out hershey kisses in little bags tied together with rainbow ribbons with cards attached with a phone number and address.
"I kept telling your father 'our mothers are probably rolling over in their graves right now,'" my mother said to me. "But maybe your grandmother would understand, deep down."
I replied that I thought now that she's dead, my grandmother most certainly understands everything.
"Yes, I guess you're right about that," my mother said.
I keep envisioning my parents sitting there in that club, friendly and smiling and giving out chocolate kisses - as well as the real thing - to all these hundred or more gay men, listening as one by one they tell my mother about their relationships with their own mothers, my poor nearly deaf father unable to hear a thing but nodding amiably and sympathetically, both of them cool as cucumbers when the strippers come out. It about makes me burst with pride.
The second Swedish phrase for the day is Mors dag. It means Mother's Day, which is on May 26 in Sweden this year.
- by Francis S.