Nothing like Mama’s hugs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Chances are, if you have ever met my mom, she has given you at least one hug. I’d put hugging right up there as one of her favorite activities in life along with going to church, reading cozy mysteries and watching &uot;Jeopardy.&uot;

Mama believes in hug therapy, and she is definitely an equal opportunity hugger.

She hugs the young, the old and the multitude of us who are in-between: whether doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, butcher, baker or candlestick maker, pretty much everyone she meets will get one of Mom’s trademark smiles and embraces somewhere along the way.

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(I have affectionately nicknamed her ‘The Mad Hugger Mugger of Honoraville’.)

Over the past decade or so, my white-haired, blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked mother has really fine-tuned her hugging technique to such a degree she charms and disarms even the surliest of creatures.

&uot;Your mom’s so…cute,&uot; people tell me with a sigh. True.

I think it was the pirate that truly brought out the inner hugger in my mom.

It was 1993 and we (&uot;we&uot; being my husband, sister Sara, brother-in-law Tony, my mother, and I) were on a Caribbean cruise together. All dressed up for one of the semi-formal nights aboard ship, we had just enjoyed a wonderful dinner together and were heading out of the dining room when it happened.

A handsome swashbuckler who looked as if he’d just stepped out of a Captain Morgan commercial approached Mama. &uot;Surrender!&uot; the mustached one commanded as he waved his cutlass in the air (and motioned toward the ship’s photographer stationed outside the door).

The next thing we knew, Mama was bear hugging that faux buccaneer as if her very life depended on it. Judging from the enormous smiles on both their faces, it’s hard to say which one enjoyed the embrace more – truly a Kodak moment.

Every so often she’ll hug someone when we are out and about, only to have second thoughts about it later.

&uot;Oh, honey, do you think I should have hugged him?&uot;

&uot;Well, mom, the nice police officer seemed surprised but I don’t think he minded too much.&uot;

There are people, of course, who for one reason or another, are very anti-hugging.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t perfectly nice and friendly folks; they are just a bit more reserved. (Upbringing has a lot to do with that.)

So I am giving you all fair warning: meet my mom and you will probably get a hug, so be prepared.

The funny thing is, the older I get, the more I find myself giving hugs, too. (Maybe it’s genetic, like the premature gray hair and baby blue eyes.)

Hey – have you hugged anyone today?