chanter_greenie: a Pringles can with the words 'you can't write just one' written across it (drabbles are like pringles)
[personal profile] chanter_greenie
This orange!verse story has been sponsored by W. Blondeau. It's a character piece similar to "Musical Gift" and "Jij Bent Zo".

Helen mothers everybody. This is known, or gets known in double quick time, by everyone moving in close circles with her. If people mind, and a few inevitably do, there really isn't that much they can do about it. She'll tone it down if somebody asks - to her, thoughtfulness comes as instinctively as breathe in, breathe out - but she's a gentle sort of hen till the day they bury her back in Saskatoon. Some things are learned, some are ingrained, and some are just plain twined in with your DNA and it's no use fighting them unless they're harmful.

Patronizing people's not her thing, but she'll look after you until you're out of her sphere, never mind she knows full well you can probably look after yourself without her help. "Do you have clean clothes? Have you eaten enough? Wipe the mud off your shoes, you’ll get it all over the floor. Around here, the door is always open if you need anything." Whether you're four or forty-five, you're a chick in a temporary nest if you're under her roof. That's just her way. You can give her a second cause aligned with her career, get her family on board with the idea of mother and spouse wading hip-deep into underground work rather than a retiree's quiet life, but... well. You can as much take Sask out of the kindergarten teacher as you can take the kindergarten teacher out of herself. Some things just come naturally. Some people say love is a verb. To Helen, love is verb, noun and natural state of being.

Helen looks after people, whether or not anybody else will. Especially if nobody else will. And if the lack of care by anybody else is deliberate--oh, now. That just has to change. That just can't be stood for, and if she doesn't object, who will? If not me, who? If not now, when? If one instance of neglect doesn't make you act, how many will it take before you do? Ignoring one person, the way Helen sees it, is as bad as ignoring several million at once, and decency begins at home. Wherever home starts, happens to be, or eventually ends up, mind you.

She knows she can’t watch out for everyone everywhere. She’d be lying if she said that that reality hasn’t kept her up on a few nights. But she has to at least try, wherever and whenever she can. There's being sensible, and then there's being determined. The two don't always have to oppose each other. Helen is living, deliberate proof of that fact.

Doing anything less than whatever she can when she has the means and the opportunity, she thinks, would be both a case of bad acting and a base betrayal of more than her cause or the people she's working with and for. Anything less would as good as splash ink all over principles present in her from crawling age, and how, exactly, do you look yourself in the face after you've betrayed your own nature? You don't, and Helen would just as soon count her own grey hairs and know where all her wrinkles and laugh lines are by sight.

Helen mothers everyone. There are others a little like her; Sandy and Leigh at the second house in Brampton, and thank God for that meeting at a teachers' convention thirty years ago, M.J. and his family by choice in the Maritimes, Celine and the others over in Quebec City, half the crowd in Montreal, Carlos, even Eric, if you look a little bit sideways at what he does. But she's the first, the most obvious and the one people think of as--maybe not Mom, only Ollie genuinely does that--but mother-type. Small M.

Ask the other people who routinely visit a certain house in Windsor, ask the stream of refugees with their patchwork of vastly different but terribly similar stories, ask thirty-five years of kindergarten classes, and they'll say she's invaluable in her role. Ask Helen, and she'll say she's just doing what she'd do normally.

The beauty of it is, both answers are right.

Notes are here:

*In our universe, Helen is a Canadian children's television personality also known throughout the northern Midwest of the United States thanks to public broadcasting. If the actual ever reads this, Miss Helen, thank you for everything you did for the development of my tiny character. I mean absolutely no disrespect to you by writing this. I mean quite the opposite, and hopefully that's plain.

*The title refers to multipath propagation, when a radio signal reaches its intended target by two or more paths through the atmosphere. This can result in flutter, fading, and at times an echo-ish effect.

*Sask is a not uncommon shortening of Saskatchewan. The CBC itself has used it on an outlet specific to that province.

Date: 2014-08-15 03:04 am (UTC)
thnidu: Red pen. Text: The red penis the editor's friend; editing mark "insert space" in "penis". from lj:stormsdotter (editor's friend)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
GOOD, she is!

• engrained
> "ingrained" is by far the more common spelling.

• Helen mothers everyone. there are others
→ everyone. There

Date: 2014-08-15 11:39 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

And that's why you have typo bugs to swat.



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