无价的母亲节礼物 A Priceless Mother’s Day gift

2013-07-26 12:29



有一种爱,伟大而平凡,如润物春雨,似拂面和风;有一份情,无私而博大,绵绵不断,情谊深长。这便是母爱,卑微如青苔, 庄严如晨曦, 无私付出,不求回报。母亲的年轮,记载着儿女人生的轨迹;母亲的四季,牵挂着儿女在外的冷暖。礼物诚可贵,母爱价更高。

无价的母亲节礼物 A Priceless Mother’s Day gift

By Miles Corwin 麦子 选 徐菲菲 注

The first time my mother made leg of lamb, she never connected the two events. The second time, she thought it was a coincidence . The third time, she knew it was a curse . Every time she prepared leg of lamb, my father was laid off a few days later. The first time it was for a few weeks; the second time for a few months; the third time for more than a year.

My father had a union job at a film-processing lab, and layoffs — and eventual rehirings — were common during the 1960s. He was laid off a few more times, but never after eating leg of lamb. My mother never served the dish again.

My father handled the layoffs with equanimity . He was an infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge and had vowed then that if he survived the war, he'd never let anything bother him again. He would enjoy and savor every day. And he did.

My mother, however, managed the family’s finances, and each layoff was extremely stressful . She worked, but money was tight as she struggled to pay the rent and the other bills until my dad was rehired. She always managed to shield my sister and me from the financial difficulties, and we never knew the extent of her worries.

But one spring, when I was 10, during one of my father’s layoffs, I could tell my mother was dispirited . I decided that I would cheer her up by buying her a special Mother's Day gift.

My sister had a friend whose mother owned an exclusive boutique , the Agins, near San Vicente and 6th Street. Actresses, including Ann-Margret and Yvette Mimieux, and wealthy women from Beverly Hills shopped at the store, which was known for its high-end fashions and style. One woman flew in from Mexico City every year to make purchases. My mother, who couldn't afford to shop there, occasionally mentioned the store in tones of awe and reverence.

One day after school I rode my bike to the Agins. I introduced myself to Sylvia Agins and told her I was looking for a Mother's Day present.

I remember that she didn’t condescend or talk down to me. She treated me like a valued customer. She asked me what my mother would like. I told her I wasn't sure. She strolled around the store for a few minutes, lost in thought.

“Do you think she’d like a purse? ” she asked.

I told her I thought she might.

After wandering to the back of the store, she returned with a box. She opened it, revealing a beige Italian handbag made of supple leather. She asked me what I thought, and I told her that my mom would like it.

“How much money do you have?” she asked.

“Twelve bucks ,” I said.

“You're in luck, ” she told me. “It's only $11. You have a dollar left over for the card. ”

She gift-wrapped the purse and thanked me for my business, and I rode off on my bike with the package under my arm.

When my mother opened the gift the next Sunday morning, she stammered in an accusatory tone, “Where did you get this?”

“I bought it at the Agins,” I said.

My mother was stunned into silence.

It wasn’t until many years later, when I learned that the purse was worth several hundred dollars, that I appreciated just how wonderful Sylvia Agins had been to me. I always felt bad that I never had a chance to properly thank her. Recently, I met someone at a party who knew her daughter, Roberta, and passed along her phone number. I decided to call Roberta, who told me her mother died 22 years ago.

When I told her the Mother’s Day story, she paused for a long time.

“That just takes my breath away ,” she said. “She wasn’t the kind of person who wanted credit for the things she did. She was so gracious and giving and loving . That little story exactly captures my mother's essence. ”

My mother, who carried the purse for many years until it was beyond repair, is now 90. She says she can still recall every detail about the purse: the rich texture of the leather, the color, the gleaming brass clasp and trim.

“You know what really amazes me to this day,” my mother said. “Letting you have the purse for just a few dollars was incredible enough. But the fact that she let you leave the store with a dollar for the card was a touch of kindness that I'll never forget. ”


coincidence: 巧合。

curse: 诅咒。

be laid off: 下岗,被解雇。

film-processing: 胶片处理;layoff: 解雇,裁员;rehiring: 回聘,重新聘用(已经解雇的员工)。

equanimity: 镇定,沉着。

infantryman: 步兵;Battle of the Bulge:突出部之役,又称阿登战役或亚尔丁之役,发生于1944年12月16日到1945年1月25日,是指纳粹德国于二战末期在欧洲西线战场比利时瓦隆的阿登地区发动的攻势。这场战役使德军损失惨重,再无后备力量可以补充,在西线也再无力阻挡盟军的前进,因此被后人称为历史的转折;vow: 发誓;survive: 幸存下来,死里逃生;bother: 烦恼,打扰,使不安。

savor: 尽情享受。

finances: 财产,财务;extremely: 非常,极其;stressful: 有压力的。

她总是尽力不让我和姐姐为家里的经济情况担心,而我们也从不知道她为此有多么的忧虑。shield from: 庇护使免遭(不幸的事)。

dispirited: 沮丧的。

exclusive boutique: 高档精品店。

这家店以其高端时尚的款式和风格闻名,因此包括安•玛格丽特和伊薇特•米米亚克斯在内的女演员,以及居住在比福利山庄的贵妇们都会来这里购物。Ann-Margret:安•玛格丽特,美国电影女演员、歌唱家、舞蹈家;Yvette Mimieux:伊薇特•米米亚克斯,好莱坞影星;Beverly Hills:比弗利山庄,有“全世界最尊贵住宅区”称号,是洛杉矶市内最有名的城中城,这里不但有着全球最高档的商业街,还云集了众多好莱坞影星们的豪宅,是世界影坛的圣地。

Mexico City: 墨西哥城,墨西哥首都。

in tones of: 以…的语气;awe: 敬畏;reverence: 崇敬。

condescend: 屈尊,摆出高人一等的架子;talk down to: 轻视地(对人)说话,用高人一等的语气说话。

stroll around: 闲逛,漫步;lost in thought: 陷入沉思。

reveal: 展示,显示;beige: 米黄色,淡棕色;supple leather: 软皮革。

buck: 美元,相当于dollar,但dollar更正式。

gift-wrap: 将…包装成礼物,用包装纸包装。

stammer: 结结巴巴地说;accusatory: 指责的,责问的。

stunned: 震惊的,惊呆的。

take one’s breath away: 使大吃一惊

credit: 赞扬。

gracious: 亲切的,高尚的;giving: 宽容,乐于付出;loving: 慈爱的,充满爱心的。

这个小故事恰好彰显了我母亲的这些品质。capture: 抓住;essence: 本质,精髓。

她说她仍能忆起那只手袋的每一处细节:那细腻的纹理,皮革的颜色,发亮的黄铜扣以及整齐的镶边。texture: 纹理,质地;gleaming: 闪闪发亮的; brass: 黄铜; clasp: 扣子,钩子;trim: 镶边。

incredible: 难以置信的。



















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