Carol Brady was dead, to begin with. Actually, she was never alive to begin with, as she’s a fictional character, but beings how she is the epitome of a perfect mother, Carol Brady was dead as a doornail.
That doesn’t change the fact that on this Mother’s Day Eve, Carol Brady visited C.J., late in the evening, when kids and Husband were out of the house because, let’s be honest, they knew that’s what she wanted.
“CeeeJaaayyy,” Carol Brady said, in a tone most spooky and weird for a 70s sitcom mom.
“Yeah?” C.J. replied, sipping her blueberry margarita, which she made because she had some leftover blueberries she didn’t know what to do with, and she’s not sure how she feels about the margarita because, you know, blueberries.
“CeeeJaaayyy,” Carol repeated. “You will be visited by three ghosts.”
“Really? Cool. Will one of them be Patrick Swayze?”
“What? No, of course not. Your first ghost will appear at one.”
C.J. looked at the clock. “That’s past my bedtime. I really don’t appreciate-”
“Expect the second one at two,” Carol said.
“How about Cary Grant? Can one of them be Cary Grant?”
“No! Pay attention! The third one will come at three.”
“This sounds lame. Those blueberries must have been funky.”
“Heed their warning, C.J., lest my fate be your own,” Carol moaned woefully, as though there was another way to moan.
“What fate? You mean that station wagon you had? I’m saving up for a Miata.”
“Look to see me no more,” said the 70s sitcom mom, “and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!”
“Lord, woman. Way to get all melodramatic there,” C.J. said, finishing off the margarita. “Dang. Next time I’ll try a mango.”
And being, from the emotion she had undergone, or the margaritas of the day, or perhaps the funky blueberries, much in need of repose, flossed and brushed her teeth, washed her face and liberally applied a new moisturizer she had high hopes for, went to bed and fell asleep upon the instant. (Well, as instant as any woman does nowadays, meaning not very, but she was asleep at one o’clock, okay?)
Suddenly a hand clasped her leg and shook her violently. “Wake up!” a voice cried out, “time’s a-wasting and I got a hot date with Miles Davis.”
C.J. rubbed her eyes and looked upon the specter in front of her. It was an old woman, tall, with generous hips and an ample bosom. “Go away,” C.J. told her. “I was having a great dream.”
“Robert Downey Jr. can wait until tomorrow night,” the old woman replied. “Meanwhile, I’ve got Miles to think about. Now get out of bed.” She tore the blankets off her. “Good Lord, girl, what are you wearing? You call that pajamas?”
“Hey, I’m comfortable, okay?”
“Put a robe on. I gotta take you somewhere, for I am the Ghost of Mother’s Day Past.”
“No, your past.”
“Aw, crap. I was hoping for a little Downton Abbey.” She put on her robe and, not knowing where exactly to put her hand because that bosom was ample, decided upon the woman’s handbag. Soon they were whizzing through the night until C.J. found herself standing on a beach, the sun shining brightly.
“Where are we?” C.J. asked.
“San Diego,” the Ghost replied. She pointed toward the shore. “Look upon yourself, you vain creature, before you had children. See the shallow, empty life you led.”
C.J. gazed upon her younger self and smiled. “Aww… look how happy I am,” she said. “Ooh, and check out that flat belly! Dang, I am rockin’ that bikini!” Putting her hand to her mouth, she yelled, “You go girl!”
“No, you’re not happy!” the old woman argued. “Your life is meaningless and shallow and empty!”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” C.J. replied. “There’s a lot to be said for being shallow. Hey — did you see that?! Those two guys walked by and then looked back to check me out! Damn! I was hot, and I didn’t even know it!”
The ghost yelled over her shoulder, “Abort, abort! This isn’t working! Get us back!”
C.J. found herself back in bed and asleep, dreaming again. This time she was on a beach with Tom Hardy.
From the other room a voice called out, “C.J.! Come here and look upon me, woman!”
Mumbling words not suitable for a family-oriented blog, C.J. stumbled into the living room. There she saw a woman sitting amongst many half-finished Pinterest projects. She wore yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt that read, ‘MOM is just WOW upside down.’
C.J. rolled her eyes. “Seriously? I left Tom Hardy for this?”
“Come in and know me better, woman! You have never seen the like of me before!” said the Spirit.
“Yet but one touch of my yoga pants and I will show you much to profit by, for I am the Ghost of Mother’s Day Present.”
“Yeah, yeah. Let’s just get on with this. Unplug your glue gun first.”
In an instant, C.J. found herself in a restaurant parking lot. “Where are we?” she asked.
“Look over there,” the Ghost said, pointing toward the entrance of Olive Garden. “See all these families taking their mothers out to eat?”
C.J. gasped. “Look at that line! I bet it’s a 45-minute wait, and it’s mediocre Italian food at best!”
“That’s not the point!” said the Ghost. “They love their Moms and so they’re taking her out to eat.”
“Well, of course they are. Because they’re all a bunch of lazy asses who can’t bother to cook or clean up after themselves.”
“Hey, at least it’s something!” said the Spirit, clearly annoyed. “Besides, I like their bread sticks.”
“You know, if you ate fewer bread sticks and pasta, you wouldn’t have to wear that oversized t-shirt.”
“Are you calling me fat?”
“Honestly, I can’t tell because of the oversized t-shirt.”
A tiny tear trickled down the Ghost’s cheek. “It’s not easy, you know?” she said with a sob. “I mean, I’d like to take a little time for myself… maybe work out… join a gym… I swear, would it kill my husband to help out once in awhile?!” She wailed and buried her head into C.J.’s neck.
“There, there,” C.J. said, looking at her watch. “Do you think we can wrap this up? I want to catch more waves with Tom before the next Spirit.”
“Whatev,” said the Ghost, and with a snap of her fingers, she was gone.
C J. looked around her; she was alone in the parking lot. “Well, this is a bitch,” she said, and began walking toward the bus stop. Suddenly an outstretched hand was before her. To this hand was connected the third Spirit, who bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain presidential candidate.
“Say, aren’t you-”
“The Ghost of Mother’s Day Yet to Come, yes I am,” the Spirit replied.
“I was going to say Hilla-”
“Don’t say it. Come on, let’s get on with this. Just touch this discarded headband from the 90s and we’ll be off.”
“Ew,” whimpered C.J., and away they whisked to a new location.
C.J. found herself standing on a sidewalk; a street musician was playing guitar under an awning, across the way she saw an artist in front of his easel. “Where are we?” C.J. asked, dazzled by the colors, sounds and the delicious aroma in the air.
“In front of a sidewalk cafe in Paris,” the Ghost replied. “See over there, at the second table on the right? That’s you.”
C.J. smiled. “I knew it! I knew some day I’d get to Paris! Ooh, I like those sunglasses I’m wearing. Très chic!” She looked at the Spirit. “So is this but a shadow of what might happen or what will happen? I mean, I don’t want to do anything to screw this up, you know?”
But the Ghost wasn’t paying attention. She was busy checking her phone, scrolling through her emails.
“Hey, is this what happens when my kids move out of the house? Is this for sure going to happen? Please tell me, I must know!”
The Ghost said nothing, she just kept clicking delete.
C.J. wailed, “Oh Spirit of Mother’s Day Yet to Come, tell me it’s not too late? There’s still hope? Maybe if they got a second job, they could afford rent and utilities?”
The Ghost walked away, mumbling something about young voters. C.J. was left alone on the boulevard; the guitar player began playing a samba.
“Ah to hell with it,” C.J. said. She entered the cafe, ordered a cheese plate and enjoyed a lovely glass of Bordeaux.
It was the best Mother’s Day ever.