Here she is, by the way. It's so hard to find a good picture of her - she hated having her picture taken. We were on my first camping trip, at Rock Creek, on the east side of the Sierras. A life-changing experience, for me. But she must have liked it too - look at how happy she seems to be in her pants and sweater, posing with her little cowgirl. Yep, that's a real teardrop trailer in the background.
But Beth was an outgoing person who embarrassed me and my quiet Swedish dad ever so many times. Once we were visiting San Pedro harbor, and there was a foreign freighter in port. Then they let you come aboard, so up we went. There were still sailors on board, all speaking a language that sounded 'way exotic. But that didn't deter my mom - soon she was deep in some semblance of a conversation with a bunch of them, Daddy and me trying to shrink into the wall. Sounds silly now, doesn't it?
Santa Barbara had a minor league baseball team - very minor. My dad's company had a box (not like you'd see at the Royals' stadium!) and we went often. Well, didn't my mother start getting to know the players - all cute guys, some from out of town - and inviting them home to dinner! She also collected some Turks, who invited us over for the worst burek you can imagine - students, obviously, who never had to cook in Turkey.
My newfound extroversion, if that it may be, has its limits. I never bring anyone home - I just chat in the supermarket line. But I'm glad that I've at least come to appreciate how much fun my mother's encounters would have been if I'd just let myself enjoy them.