This blog has two goals: one is for me to document and work through my grief; and the other is to celebrate my Mack. Telling stories about her and thinking about her humor and her antics makes me smile. It always has. She made me laugh every single day she was in my presence. And so, I am going to keep her close to me by remembering her wit and her charm and by sharing it with you as well.
Here is the first installment of All about Mack:
Mack was obsessed with British culture. She was raised on shows like Keeping Up Appearances and the Vicar of Dibley, but as a teenager, she added a whole lineup of shows, including Dr. Who and her favorite Skins and watched them with regularity and an increasingly expanding contingent of her school friends. She adored British comedy, music, literature, and history. When she was in middle school, she practiced a British accent for hours in her room; and for an entire summer (including during weekend trips to basketball tournaments) she used that accent in most of her conversations with family members, friends, and strangers. She was even successful convincing a few new acquaintances that she had been raised in London and her American parents had forcibly transferred her to the American Midwest, where she was feeling quite out of sorts. I always laughed and rolled my eyes at her when she poured on that accent thick when asking what was for dinner or what we were doing on the weekend. But she just grinned her crooked grin and kept on with her ridiculous cockney tone.
When Kevin, Mack and I traveled to Spain to visit my oldest daughter Savannah (who was living in Zafra in southern Spain) in the summer of 2011, Mack started begging for a stopover in London. She engaged in multiple encore performances of a very lively, persuasive speech about how important it would be for her to return to her homeland. A trip to London was not in the itinerary that I had already mapped and for which I had budgeted, but her passionate arguments were finding kinks in my armor. I remembered that Gibraltar was at the tip of southern Spain, and I thought it was a British territory. I whispered this suspicion just once, and Mack was on it. It was, indeed, at the tip of Spain and it was perfectly English. And so, in a tiny rental car, we drove 700 km round trip from Zafra to Gibraltar, where we laid eyes on that famous rock and, most importantly, gave Mackenzie an opportunity to return to her homeland. We ate fish and chips in an English pub, watched some European soccer, leaned in to listen to real British accents, and Mack pointed out every damn Union Jack we saw flying throughout the town. It was crazy to drive there on a day trip. It was weird to add it to our Spanish vacation. Savannah’s Zafra friends thought we were a bunch of ridiculous Americans. But it was so much fun, and Mack was positively delighted.
Looking back on it now, that silly little diversion from our carefully orchestrated vacation plans was one of the best and most important spontaneous things we ever did. That trip allowed me to give my baby one of her dreams and it gave me one of my favorite pictures of her. In it, she is hamming it up in a British phone booth, and I can hear her stupid British accent right now as I write.