May. 8th, 2011

Tom Barrow pulled the Subaru into the Yellow Lot at the Convention Center and parked it neatly, backing up twice to even it between the striped lines on the asphalt. He put his parking ticket on the windshield, set up the reflective sun visor in the back window, and locked up the car. He was noting the closest parking lot sign (E-4) on his phone when a shadow fell across him.

"Tom?" said a voice. Tom squinted into the sun and made out a tall, lean man in a sport coat. The man looked somewhat familiar to him; the sunglasses weren't anything he had seen before, and the graying hair didn't match the profile of anybody he remembered, but the shape of the face, and the voice… Tom smiled.

"Phil Bester!" he said, putting out his hand. Phil shook it warmly. "We've got to stop meeting like this!" Phil laughed.

"Wow, Tom; you haven't changed in the last few years," he said. "You look good! Too good, really; you make the rest of us forty-two year olds look like aging bastards."

"Oh, stop," said Tom. "You don't look so old. I'm sorry I missed you at Mother's Day the last couple of years." The two began walking across the parking lot towards the Convention Center.

"Yeah, well, it's getting to be a bigger and bigger group," said Phil. "Remember in ninety-two when we had the Elks Lodge? That was when everybody still knew everybody. Things were more personal. Nowadays it's like we're all strangers!"

"The clan's growing, that's for sure." Tom stopped to read the marquee sign above the Convention Center. It said: HERE'S TO YOU, MA. He clapped Phil on the shoulder.

"Well, brother," he said, "let's join our siblings and wish Ma a happy Mother's Day."

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