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Mom The Lioness

Mom The Lioness


Hello and good day!

When I was a kid, I was really into a game called Pogs.

You probably don't remember Pogs.

I assume you wouldn't recall this game because I was crazy about the game, and I barely remember it myself. But if I think hard, I can bring it all back.

Pogs were small cardboard circles with designs on them.

Back in the day, a bunch of buddies and I would all be outside of our houses, on a sidewalk corner in our neighborhood, crouching or kneeling on the ground, playing Pogs.

Once we got going, we might be out on that corner for hours and while we were out there, more and more kids would wander over and join the congregation.

Here is how the game works.

The designs on the little cardboard circles are only on one side.

You stack up a small pile of cardboard circles. The number of Pogs in the pile is a wager that you and an opponent agree upon. The pile is stacked with the design sides facing down.

In addition to cardboard circles, we also collected pieces called slammers.

Slammers where thick plastic pieces.

To play, the first player whips their slammer down on top of the pile. The pieces scatter and your opponent gets to pick up whichever Pogs flip over design side up. Then it is your turn to whip your slammer onto their pile and your goal is to collect more Pogs than you lose.

Every serious player had plastic tubes that we carried our Pogs around in.

A big collection was a point of pride and a sign of success.

After a long day of playing, we retired to our homes to analyze and revel in our spoils.

As you may be able to ascertain, there is no such thing as being a good Pogs player.

It is a game of chance.

And yet, we all worked to refine our skills and technique, slamming slammers at particular angles, with a practiced snap of the wrist, and from a thoroughly contemplated release point above the pile.

There was a time when I fancied myself an elite player. It all happened during a several weekend stretch when I had a hot hand.

I won so many Pogs off my neighborhood friends that my mom had to drive me to the store every week to buy more and more storage tubes.

On the last weekend of my magical run, a new face joined the gathering on the sidewalk corner.

It was Ramon.

Ramon was a thief and a bully who made neighborhood kids shiver with fear whenever we saw him.

You just knew that there was going to be some kind of conflict when Ramon was around.

I had all of my tubes standing up in front of me on the sidewalk as a show of wealth while I crouched in the game circle.

I was already off to a fast start.

"Can I get in?" asked Ramon.

The other players parted to let Ramon through. You would never say no to Ramon.

He was tall and broad shouldered, and he had the meanest damn green eyes you ever saw.

"I want to play with you," said Ramon.

He crouched down and pulled a tube of Pogs out of a breast pocket on his shirt.

We played, and in a short amount of time, I had him cleaned out.

My hot hand was absolutely ravishing during that stretch.

Nobody could stand up to it.

As my game with Ramon came to its conclusion, an ice cream truck drove by our street. All of us in the crowd stood up to look and see where it was.

Some ran off to buy ice cream.

I turned around to get back in the game, and when I did, I saw that all of my Pogs tubes were gone.

Ramon was walking up the street.

My heart sank.

I chased him.

When I caught up, I grabbed his arm, which felt too thick and too muscular to belong to a kid.

"Hey Ramon. Give me back my Pogs man," I said.

I didn't say it with much authority. It was more of a meek begging.

He shook off my grip and pushed me away with one hand.

"Get away from me kid. I mean it. I don't have your Pogs. Go away."

He winked at me and smiled his evil smile. "Now go!"

I let him walk away and I went straight home.

I didn't stop to say goodbye to the other players.

At home, I laid on the couch and moped for hours.

When my mom got back from work, early in the evening, she saw me there.

"What's the matter sweetheart?" she asked.

"Ramon stole all of my Pogs and I don't know how to get them back," I said, wiping tears from my eyes.

I hadn't been crying but saying out loud what happened caused my eyes to well up.

My mom set down her purse and some files on our dining room table.

She went to her room to change clothes.

When she came back out, she stood next to the couch and pulled on my hand.

"Come on," she said.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"We're going to get your stuff back," said mom.

Mom the lioness.

I didn't know where Ramon lived, so we went first to my friend Dre's house. Dre knew where everybody lived.

Ramon lived just a few houses up from me in a beat up old white apartment building. The building had a pool that all of us neighborhood kids swam in during the summer.

It was a tiny pool, and it didn't matter if you lived in the apartment complex. You could get in that tiny pool with all those other kids if you wanted to, and I partook many times.

Mom and I walked up the street in the dark of the night.

Dre had explained to us more or less which apartment Ramon lived in by using the pool as a guidepost. Looking at the pool, Ramon lived on the second floor, one unit in from the corner on the right.

We walked up a flight of stairs and my mom knocked on the door we thought must be Ramon's.

A youngish middle-aged woman answered. Mariachi music played on a radio in the background. The house smelled like frying tortillas.

"We're here to see Ramon," said my mom.

"What do you want with Ramon?"

"He stole from my son. We're here to take back what he stole."

I was standing next to my mom, listening and watching, an eight-year-old boy, in awe of the world's bravest mother.

The woman in the door had a look of concern on her face.

"Come in," she said.

\She led us to Ramon's room.

It was small and dirty with clothes all over the floor. Ramon was laying on his bed.

"This woman says you stole from her son. Is it true?" asked the mother.

Ramon was surprised and I saw fear in his green eyes.

He sat up in bed.

"Of course not ma," he said.

"Well, let's just see," said my mom.

Mom began searching through Ramon's dresser drawers.

"Hey, get out of my room lady!" shouted Ramon.

He jumped out of bed and grabbed my mom by the back of her shirt.

My mom turned to him.

"Take your hands off of me right now young man."

She was trembling with anger.

"No Ramon! Let her search!" yelled Ramon's mother.

It didn't take long.

We found my Pogs tubes in Ramon's sock drawer.

Back home, I went through everything, and my collection was intact.

There is a happy ending to this story.

Ramon and I became friends.

He was scared of my mom and our friendship caused him to cool off on the bullying and thievery, at least around me.

This is just one of a dozen stories that I could tell about my mom and her heroism.

As a result of who my mom is, my brother and I know to always stand up for those who we care about.

This has influenced how we do business as well.

We do our best to take care of everybody who depends on us.

By the way, that is my mom with me as a baby in the photo above.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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