His Biggest Fan, In Addition To His Own Mother

Every so often she’d say the same thing to me. “How the hell did you get him to marry you?” My mother, Verona, absolutely cherished him. I wasn’t allowed to make one complaint. She lived down the street from us for 13 years and she was just like a second mother to our kids. As she got older and sick we all took care of her. She passed away one November evening in a hospice bed with all of us around her in our family room. Complete with the Christmas tree that we put up way too early, so she’d get to see it one more time. It was Doug’s birthday.

Yesterday, March 3rd, was her birthday. She would have been 86. If she were here she’d be the oldest member of A Long Swim Team. And she’d insist on being on the guide boat that accompanies Doug across the English Channel. And probably more than once during the trip she’d lean over and whisper to me, for the millionth time, “How the hell did you …?”

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