Duckie is in rehearsal for a Christmas play put on by a local troupe. It's about a very large extended family coming home for the holidays. Duckie plays one of the grandchildren. There is also a great-grandmother character in the play. She is played by a very sweet woman I knew years ago. My mother, my brother & myself attended the same church as this woman from the time my parents broke up (age 6) until my mother moved to Ontario (age 11). It's been very bittersweet. I've been able to look back on the last period when my mother was still my mother, or at least trying very hard to be. My mother was already drinking during this period and slipping up pretty badly but she still was trying. The effort stopped not long after she moved away when she succumbed to mental illness, substance abuse and poverty. My mother, as a parent, was dead in essence by the time I was 15 even though she physically passed away last January. It's truly been a gift to be able to remember a time before all the difficult child-ness completely took over our family life. I'll carry it with me always.