Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: The other day I had an hour at an airport and grabbed my phone to call my mother. Which happens pretty often, actually.
RN: I’m sorry, and I’m with you. Yesterday I ran across a postcard with an image of one of my mom’s favorite Monet paintings, and thought, “I should send this to Mom.” And then I remembered.
CP: The past year has been a bad one for anyone who dared to try to be a mom to us. Joan Peck died last April, 10 days after her 87th birthday, which involved a cake big enough for her and the entire wing of her assisted-living facility.
RN: I’m so glad to know that one of your last memories of Joanie is tied to a birthday cake, hopefully one of those half-sheet monstrosities, festooned in big, sugary roses made of frosting and done up in all kinds of crazy pastel colors.
CP: Oh, it was a double-wide, with more rosettes than a bridal bouquet. Your mom also enjoyed the occasional sweet, yes?
RN: You might say that. Judy Nelson’s sweet tooth was the equivalent of a heat-seeking missile. Like mother, like son, right? The last time I visited her before her death in January, we bonded over those fabulous chocolate Domino cookies from Sun Street Breads.
CP: But Judy liked the occasional glass of beer, a taste you do not share. Didn’t you two ever bond over a Twins game on WCCO Radio and a nice cold Hamm’s?
RN: I enjoy a well-crafted IPA now and then, but she was more of an Amstel Light kind of gal. As for baseball, never. But Judy was the one who encouraged me to follow my interest in the ballet. Our countless Northrop evenings together are among my happiest Mom memories.
CP: I remember Judy at your place on Christmas Eve, enamored of her son and decked out in a Norwegian statement sweater.
RN: So cute, right? And I recall meeting the enthralling Mrs. Peck for the first time. She led us on a tour of Chicago’s Loop, and she had me wrapped around her little finger in 20 minutes flat. I imagine that happened a lot.
CP: When we were cleaning out Joan’s house last spring, I came across her voluminous notes, including homemade flash cards, from when she was studying to pass the docent’s exam at Chicago Architecture Foundation. They showed how pleased and proud she was in the period when she gave those walking tours. She loved having a captive audience.
RN: Like mother, like son, I’d say. Get this: For reasons unknown, my mother and her sisters …
CP: … the Olsenaires!
RN: … always featured a box of Cheerios in the background of their annual photo. It was a family joke, for years. Wouldn’t you know it? When I was clearing out Judy’s room, I moved a large bureau and discovered, yes, an empty Cheerios box. I promptly burst into tears.
CP: I defy anyone who is not Genghis Khan to clear out a parent’s house without frequent waterworks. My siblings and I paused for multiple group sobfests last spring. It was highly cathartic, even if it did hamper our workflow.
RN: Happy Mother’s Day, Judy and Joan. We love you.
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib