“Hey Paul, is that your grandma?” “No, man, that’s my mom!”

When I was born, my mother was 41, and in the 1960s, having a baby when you were over 40 was rare. I realized by the fifth grade that my parents were old. I don’t mean they were just older than me; they were ancient! My two best friends, Richie Brownsberger, and Mike Fillipponi, had moms who were young and cool. Their pantries were filled with junk food, and their moms listened to Elton John, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix.

In contrast, my mom listened to Wayne Newton, Dinah Shore, and Pat Boone. This difference in our parents’ tastes and lifestyles often made me feel like an outsider. Still, it also gave me a unique perspective and appreciation for the life my mother lived, that seemed, to 10-year-old Paul Barnett, a century-old.

Every year, on Mother’s Day, Mom would exclaim, “Mother’s Day? Really? For all I do, I get one “special day” per year? That’s just ridiculous if you ask me.”

My mother, who, by the 1970s, was a feminist, would continue criticizing the patronization of women by saying to my father, “I do not want to be one of those women that are dragged to a Sunday buffet, wearing a corsage that looks like it fell off a casket!” If you must get me flowers, bring me something I can plant in the ground!” 

Mom had a unique perspective on gift-giving, particularly on ‘formally sanctioned giving days’ like Mother’s Day. She believed that these special days, while intended to celebrate and show appreciation, often placed a significant burden on the giver and had little to do with the receiver. If the giver gives, as the whole world expects them to do, the receiver does not see it as a gift because it clearly results from obligation. Thus, the gift and the holiday are stripped of any meaning.

Along with being a feminist, my mother was also a bit of a snob. 

Born Dorothy Jane Rodger, my mom grew up in Chicago. Mom, the granddaughter of an industrial engineer, enjoyed life in an upper-class family. That was until the financial bottom fell out during the great depression. Although the family lost their wealth, my mother prided herself on recognizing the “finer things” in life. 

One of those finer things that Mom enjoyed was sailing. After she ended her rant about how silly Mother’s Day was, she and my father would pack up the car and head to the marina for a Sunday afternoon sail on San Diego Bay.

So, here’s the pitch; Forget the buffet and don’t bother with a bouquet of overpriced flowers. Instead, call me, and let’s plan a day on Riviera for your mom. We’ll set sail on a luxurious yacht, the Riviera, with a professional crew to cater to her every need. Mother’s Day is May 12th, but we can go any day. I’ll queue up her favorite playlist, have her best cocktail chilled and waiting, and together we’ll show her what it means to be loved and appreciated. 

Fair Winds & Following Seas
Paul & Victoria

Scroll to Top