At 48 and 52, they looked too old for sibling rivalry.
But at a brunch table with their mother, Alex Schmidt and older sister Selma Umbarger joked and sparred like preteens.
Like others visiting their moms Sunday in the dining room at a South Hill retirement home, they let their inner children hang out.
“Let the record show that I’m the only one who brought a gift,” Schmidt said.
That record’s a little slanted. Sure, Schmidt painted his mother a watercolor Mother’s Day card and hung it on a metal vase tied with a sunflower-spotted bow and filled with sunflowers. But Umbarger drove from Yakima to see their mother, Helen Mirchuk, and picked her up a corsage.
Then the exaggerating started.
“It’s an orchid,” Umbarger said. “I had it specially flown in from Hawaii.”
“They came from Ecuador,” countered Schmidt, fingering his imitation sunflowers. “I had them pressed.”
Mother’s Day at Waterford on South Hill, 2929 S. Waterford Drive, brought almost 100 extra guests into the retirement home’s three dining rooms. They snacked on sweet rolls and croissants, bacon and ham, eggs and ravioli and a smorgasbord of other food. They almost all liked the food - especially because they didn’t have to cook.
“Tell ‘em I said it was good, but I didn’t rave about it,” said Bodie Hoye, 79, sitting at a table with friends, her son and his wife.
She was thankful for her family on Mother’s Day. Her son, Andy Hoye, brought her an antique shelf.
“I don’t know where I’m going to put it,” Bodie Hoye said.
“But I’ve got enough junk I can put on it.”
“You don’t have junk,” said Madeline Marshall, Hoye’s friend from down the hall. “You have nice things.”
Marshall’s son sent her a Snoopy card for Mother’s Day. She was thankful for that, and thankful for other things.
“I’m just thankful I’m alive,” said Marshall, who wouldn’t give her age, saying she’s old enough to know better.
Tables were scattered with licked-clean plates, coffee cups, flowers and greeting cards. There were generations of families gathered at tables, from teenagers to octogenarians.
Laurie Sokolik, 18, drew hearts on cards for her mother and her grandmother, who lives at Waterford.
“I’m going to hold your hand when I read it,” said her mother, Mary Beth Sokolik, opening the card and reading a long note from her daughter. “Thank you sweetie. Bless your heart.”
At another table, three generations were represented, starting with Waterford residents Jean Gallagher, 79, and her husband, John, 88. They talked about past Mother’s Days and promised presents in the future.
“Now you know why we’re so old,” John Gallagher said. “We have five children, 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.”
“And they’re all wild,” Jean Gallagher added. At that, the people around the table nodded.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo