My Mother 2: My Mother and Beer

Posted on Oct 2, 2020 in Hiroko's Blog

My mother finally departed on September 29, 2020.  She was a dedicated, joyful, open, hard-working and loving person.  She enjoyed a full life in her 93 years on earth.  Here is my mother’s story No. 2.

My Mom one day as she sat in his lap, watched her father gulping down a small glass of beer.  She was 5 years old.  Her father’s contented, big smile with some white beer foam attached around his moustache were so impressive that my Mom couldn’t stop watching him.  Feeling his daughter’s intense curiosity her father jokingly asked my Mom if she wanted a taste.   My Mom was the fourth girl among her 6 siblings with 2 younger brothers following her.  She was born somewhat weak with some minor heart valve irregularity.  She skipped all physical exercises during early school years because she didn’t have strength.  Her pediatrician-father tried to find a way to improve her health.  At that very moment on his lap Grandpa thought that perhaps the bitter tasting hops in the beer might do something good for my Mom.  After tasing a tiny amount of his beer my Mom announced to her father that she loved the bitterness of the beer.  After this first experiment how many more times did Granpa gave additional tastings of beer to my mother is in the clouds after a healthy 93 years?  My Mom’s life turned one hundred eighty degrees in terms of comfort after she married my father.  My Mom had grown up being completely taken care by her father, mother, her big sisters, and house maids.  Especially after my father opened a medical clinic for surgery in a small hospital that was on the lower floor of our Tokyo home, my Mom had no choice but work almost non-stop, 365 days each year.  This lasted for more than 30 years.  My Mom’s day began early in the morning.  First thing to do after getting up at 5:00 am was to meticulously sweep the street in front of our house with its attached surgical clinic.  Then, she made breakfast for family members, live-in nurses and in-patients who stayed with us after having surgery.  She managed the clinic, house and family all day long.  Her busy day usually wound up at around midnight.  She then spent next half hour at the dining table with all the newspapers of the day spread out in front of her.  She read every page with a small can of beer by her side.  I do not clearly remember but I think it was 250ml size.  At the end of the day during which she had exhausted herself so much, she felt that the bitter flavor in the beer did something good to her and kept her going.  I am sure her memory of that first tasting of beer and the love she received from her father were always with her at the end of the day.  She continued enjoying beer into her 80s and then suddenly stopped. She told me, with a wink, that the beer is no longer tasty. But I think she simply decided that a person of her age should not consume alcohol. Indeed, after that at family affairs when everyone was enjoying beer, sake or wine, she would always enjoying a glass of water.