As I was visiting with one of my old friends from grade school during the reception, she invited me to attend the Mavericks game with her that night. A season ticket holder, Ana never missed a home game, and this one was Game Five of the Western Conference finals.
I wasn't sure that was an appropriate way to spend the evening after my mother's memorial service. But when I mentioned it to my brother and my sister they each looked at me, their eyes wide with excitement and said, "GO!" We'd already had time with all the visiting relatives the day before and everyone assured me that my mother would approve. So I accepted Ana's invitation.
Ana picked me up that evening and we went to her favorite sports bar for dinner, watching the first few minutes of the game on the TV screens there since we were running a little late. I told Ana how everyone had said Mom would be delighted that I had a chance to go the game since she had been such a big fan. Ana was astonished to hear that.
"Your mom was a sports fan?!"
Ana knew my mother as a very proper lady who attended church regularly, ran an efficient home and kept everything neat and tidy, even finding time to sew clothes for her daughters. Her childhood memory of my mom was of a sort of June Cleaver for our neighborhood, without the pearls and high heels, sort of a blend of Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart. That was a pretty accurate picture. But I told Ana about my mother's penchant for the old Saturday Night Wrestling shows which she watched on a little black & white TV throughout all three of her pregnancies, a craving that was probably healthier than mine for Dutch Chocolate Blue Bell ice cream.
Mom was a big fan of the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Mavericks. She never missed a game on TV, making sure somebody looked up the time and the channel for her when she was bedridden so she wouldn't miss a minute. She'd yell at the players on TV when they were losing and cheer when they were winning. I was sure she was smiling down on me. I became more certain as the evening wore on.
We left the restaurant sometime during the first quarter and made our way through a brief rain shower across downtown to the arena. As the rain let up and the evening sun broke through we saw a double rainbow, from one end to the other, perfectly framing the Dallas skyline. It was so beautiful it took our breath away and Ana turned to me and said, "Donna! It's your mother!"
When we got to the arena, Ana approached the closest parking lot, telling me she never found an open space there and since we were running late it was probably chained off by now anyway. But the lot was open and we found a parking space waiting for us, not far from the entrance to the arena. Again, Ana said, "Donna! It's your mother!"
The Mavericks had been trailing so far in this game against the Phoenix Suns but as we found our seats, they scored and took the lead. And Ana said, "Donna! It's your MOTHER!!" She kept repeating that phrase as Dirk Nowitzki went on to score a total of 50 points during that game, 22 of them in the fourth quarter and the Mavericks won the game 117 - 101.
And it didn't stop then. On our way to the car, Ana stopped to buy a t-shirt. She was hoping to find one particular design in a certain size and was pretty sure they'd be sold out. But they had it in stock. Of course they did. She gave my mom credit for that one, too.
The next morning at breakfast I told my family the story of my mother and the Dallas Mavericks. At first they giggled a bit, but then they sat quietly as, one by one, I related the events of the night before.
They agreed with Ana.
"It was your mother."
Kim Crow Adams, Ana Saldana and me at the reception after my mother's memorial service