A present for Mother

The last mother vanished from Earth. She left this note: "In three guesses, what color are my eyes? Love, Mom." Five days later, the clean plates were gone, McDonald's issued ration cards, and there were 11 undershirts left at K mart, all extra small.

On the seventh day, weather satellites relayed pictures showing chunks of Earth breaking off and spinning out into space. NASA pleaded: Anybody know where she put the Scotch tape?

In order to soothe the public, the President recalled Walter Cronkite.

Albert, a young scientist unable to survive on one Big Mac a day, constructed a computer model of a mother, hoping it would come to life if he could find the perfect gift.

One dawn in the lab, poring over his notes, he lifted his feet while the janitor swept under the desk.

"Charlie," he said, stifling a yawn, "listen to this public opinion poll. 'Question: What would you give your mother, if you had a mother? Results: flowers, candy, perfume, jewelry, briefcase, running shoes, Tupperware, the deed to her room, a new piano, a microwave that freezes, slices, and mops, fishing rod and reel, size medium undershirt, 51 percent undecided, 36 percent were looking for the television guide.'

"I've had all those things delivered -- why won't she come to life?" Albert lay his head on the desk and listened to his growling stomach.

The old man leaned on his broom. "I once had a mother."

"You did?" Albert looked up. "What did she like?"

"An egg carton and a yarn wastebasket I made in school. Her own wheels. A Norman Rockwell print for her appliance repair shop."

"That's it? But where's the pattern? There has to be a right present somewhere on this planet!"

"You're just trying too hard." Charlie said, inspecting the mother model. "You got it a Supreme Court appointment, and dressed it in judge's robes. Here's a purse that refills itself -- what's this inside? 'The bearer of this certificate is guaranteed to remain her ideal size.'"

Stepping onto the yellow beribboned pedestal, the janitor leaned over to smell a red rose, his broom brushing against the model. Its hand closed around the handle.

With jerky movements, it swept the roses. "Wipe-your- feet-wipe-your-nose-wipe-your-self. . . ."

"Fantastic!" Albert jumped up and grabbed Charlie, "Do we have ourselves a mother, or do we have ourselves a mother?"

". . .for-heaven's-sake-a-nag-with-a-broom-does-not-a- mother-make."

The scientist rubbed his chin, then said softly, "What we need is a baby for her."

"That could be a problem -- babies don't grow on trees." Charlie snapped his fingers. "Give me five minutes, I'll be right back." When he returned, he placed something in the mother model's hand.

Slowly, the corners of her mouth turned up. Her hand rose to her face. Then she said, "The dandelions are lovely."

As she dried the men's tears with the hem of her judicial robes, their legs shook so they had to support each other to remain standing.

Albert whispered, "I know it's illogical, but look at her eyes, Charlie -- their color is . . . love."

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