Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #11

Conversations with Mama… and more ~ #11

Helen new_0017 (800x623)

Mama with friend enjoying an ice cream cone – in front of the mill in Union Point.

“We woke up to snow today (March 1, 2009). The big flakes coming down is covering everything. Boo wasn’t trying to get out the door today – he’s afraid of the snow. He takes one look out the door and runs to hide; he’s so afraid of the snow that it’s actually funny. There is about 2-3 inches out there and it’s covered all the trees in white. It’ll probably be pretty tomorrow and then the sun will be out. I remember that as a little girl, you always said that you wanted to live where there was a lot of snow – well you got your wish- You live in CT.”

“One night while working at Nathaniel Greene Restaurant in Greensboro, my girlfriend Willie’s daughter Deb called me. She was crying and saying, “Kinley, we need you, Daddy’s in the house and got a pistol and won’t let us leave. I left to go there and when I went by the house I slowed up and saw the kids hiding under the bushes. They ran and jumped in the car, as their father, Henry, shot at my car. I actually heard the “ping” sound of the bullet as it went by. Willie’s kids always called me “Kinley”  – it was shortened from my maiden name of McKinley. I don’t know why we didn’t call the police, other then it was a small town and at that time they would probably have done nothing, but tell Henry to put the pistol away and don’t be shooting at anyone – times were different then.”

“I still believe today I know who stole the guns from the farm. The Confederate rifle was hung on the wall and Daddy’s shotgun was under the bed – and that’s the only two they took. I believe it was the man who came to the farm a few times trying to date me – he always talked about them and wanted to buy them. I just know it was him – I did confront him and of course he said he didn’t. Even later on he still said he never stole them, but I’ll never believe it. He wanted them really bad and since Daddy wouldn’t sell them, he figured he’d just take them. Wish I had come home earlier that night and caught whoever it was. For some reason I had worked late that night, and he knew that. The other two rifles Daddy had, that he didn’t take, were the repeating rifle Daddy bought so Mama could eventually shoot something if she needed to use it and my brother, Leroy’s, one-bullet rifle. Leroy was an excellent shot – he only needed one bullet to hit anything; he received a marksman pin in the army.”

“I remember Leroy killing Blue Jays when they tried to eat our fruit trees. They’d peck and ruin all the apples, pears and peaches, so Leroy would shoot them. The other birds didn’t do much damage, but the Blue Jays weren’t content until they’d pecked at all the fruit.” 

Mama’s favorite sayings now: “When I get to crying, you better go – and…

I’d just as soon knock hell out of you as look at you.” 

In asking Mama a few questions tonight about me, she said. “I remember you going out trick or treating, but I don’t remember you dressing up. You were a very curious child about things. I do remember me dressing up at Halloween one year. I made myself a blue polka dot jumpsuit to look like a cat – complete with a long tail. I remember walking around and saying meow and twirling my tail. Your father had one too many drinks that night and I got mad at him and flirted with all the men.”

“As to Easter, I remember you not wanting to dress up in the pretty dresses I made you. The whole time you had the dress on, you pulled at it while throwing around your pocketbook I had also made. You only wanted to wear your blue jeans and ride your stick horse. I loved to make you the frilly dresses and pocketbook to match and you didn’t want any part of those girly things!”

Another mama saying: “You’re as ugly as homemade soap!”

“There was a drugstore in Greensboro when I was young that was completely open in front – the whole front of the building let up. I don’t think it was still in business when you were small, only when I was growing up. That was the place where Daddy hit Mr. C.C. Wills in the nose and knocked him clear out into the street. He did that because it was his fault that Leroy was drafted. When he saw Daddy that day in the drugstore and told him how sorry he was to hear of Leroy’s death, Daddy balled his fist up and laid him out on the sidewalk. He felt Mr. Wills was to blame as he had pushed for Leroy to be drafted out of school.”

I called Mama tonight to wish her a “Happy Birthday” (April 6, 2009) She began telling me how cold and windy it’s been, then she said. “I guess we’ll be having a “blackberry winter.” I quickly said, what! You never amaze me, but that’s a first – I’ve never heard that before, is that something new?” “That’s what the old folks always call a cold spell that’s coming around Easter time. It’s something to do with the first beginning of blackberry season I guess – all I know is I’ve always heard it.”

After the talk rolled around to Greene County, she began with this tale. “When I worked at Holiday Inn, there was a cop in Greensboro that began following me at times when I came home late. One time he pulled me over right outside the city limits – he thought he was being cute. I told some of my friends, who were state police officers, and it so happened one night a group of my friends followed me home to have breakfast at the farm; one of those friends was a state officer. When I went through Greensboro, that cop pulled right in behind me and began following me, and just outside the city limits he almost ran me off the road as he pulled me over. My friends also pulled over and the state cop walked up to him and asked him why had he pulled me over, and then showed his badge. He didn’t have too much to say, but my friend told him that he had no right to pull me over as I wasn’t doing anything, and if he wanted a problem, he could issue him a ticket for his wrong doing. He never followed me again. I guess he was surprised to see I had friends in such high places.”

“What walks all over town with his tongue hanging out? A shoe!

I’ve never forgotten that joke.”

“One time, while attending the Siloam Grammar School, Mr. Burke told the class to write a story. I didn’t like to write, but I wrote one and he said it was the best in the class. It wasn’t a long story as I remember writing it quickly. I can still remember him praising me on it, but to this day I can not remember that story. Sure wish I had kept it. That’s like the time you wrote a story about the window fan in our living room, and how we threw it in the dump because we bought an air conditioner. You had liked the fan and how it made the house smell nice as it blew air in the house and circulated the smell of coffee in the morning. Then the fan was picked up out of the dump and painted green and put in someone else’s house, where it didn’t smell so good. You got an A on that story. I kept it for years and even still had it at the farm, but I don’t know what finally happened to it. In the Siloam School, everyone always said that I was Mr. Burke’s pet.”

“When I worked at Nathaniel Greene Restaurant in Greensboro, one of the girls in the kitchen asked me to borrow ten dollars one night. I told her “I’m so poor that I can hardly walk.”  I remember her just looking at me –she never asked again! I never did like to borrow or lend and still don’t. If I don’t have money on me to buy something, I’ll never ask who I’m with to borrow any – I’ll do without. I always “poor mouth” and still do. I don’t let anyone, even down at Senior Citizen center, know I have money and that I could buy and sell most of them. I’d rather have them think “I can’t rub two nickels together.” One time, when I was working in the front yard, a small black boy walked by and asked me for a quarter. I told him that I was so poor that I didn’t even have a quarter. He just looked at me and said, “you sure are poor lady.”

“I never cared about any sports, but I did enjoy going to the basketball games at the Perry High School. I liked to watch the group of boys we had there that went to the state championships every year. There was one short boy on the team, and when he stole the ball, he was quickly gone down the court to make the winning shot before the other boys on the other side even knew what happened – he was very fast when he took off with the ball. Later in life I got interested in the Atlanta Braves baseball team, but then when my favorite boys got traded I stopped watching.”

 I was telling Mama that Cindy Bryan (Moore) sent me her grandmothers recipe for Brunswick stew. They make it with white cream corn and also add a stick of butter. Cindy had sent me pictures from their BBQ and they even made the stew in the cast iron pot and stirred it with a wooden paddle like the one I have of Granddaddy Bryan’s. “My daddy always said yellow corn was only for the mules, cows and pigs – we only ate white. He grew white for us to eat and yellow for the animals.”

“I remember Mama Bryan making the BBQ sauce for the chopped pork. She put a stick of butter in, salt and pepper, and vinegar. But I don’t remember her ever putting butter in the Brunswick stew. She would have the pot simmering on the back of the stove from early in the morning. She’d then get everything else ready for the stew. Granddaddy Bryan liked to cook his stew in the small cast iron pot he borrowed from my father – that’s the one you have. Charles Bryan bought Granddaddy Bryan’s big pot from him for twenty dollars. Charles told us that Mr. Paul would have given it to him, but not Evelyn Bryan – she wouldn’t give you anything.” (Charles son has the pot now, but Charles gave Stephen Granddaddy’s stew paddle in Oct. of 2008 when we met up with him in Union Point.)

Mama was talking about buying loose seeds to plant and when I questioned where do you buy loose seeds, I was told. “Daddy always bought his seeds loose – we have a hardware store in town here that sells them loose in buckets. They have a lot of different loose seeds and you buy the amount you want and they put them in a bag for you. You pay by the pound.”

“You should see my front yard today, all the Easter Lilies in the front are all in bloom. I have all colors – they are white, purple and yellow. I even took some to my Dr.’s office today for Dr. Edwards and the girls. They like when I bring flowers.”

In the Reminisce magazine that came today, there was an article and picture about the old store Woolworth’s. I asked Mama if she ever went to Woolworth’s. “I remember going to Woolworth in Macon. There was a special deodorant there that your father always liked.” When I came to Monroe, there was a 5 & 10 store uptown that I liked to go to. They had a fountain and I remember going there and having a sandwich. There used to be a Woolworth’s over in Athens. When your father went to the insurance office there in town, I’d go if I could.”

Another of Mama’s sayings:

“I am never selfish, but I’ve never had anything to actually be selfish about.”

“When I called tonight, Mama said, “where in the hell have your been? I haven’t talked to you in days, I thought you fell off the planet. Today when I was working  in the garden I saw a black snake. They had cut the grass next door and that’s probably why he was in my yard. I just picked him up with a pitch fork and put him back in their yard. My yard is such a mess. I’ve never seen such crab grass in my gardens in all my life. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it all out.”

To be continued…

© 2015 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at:
This entry was posted in Conversations with Mama and more. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.