Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #9

Conversations with Mama… and more ~ #9

I heard another one of Mama’s saying tonight I never heard before; she forgot what she was telling me and said, “what was I going to say, Oh, it might be a lie. She then laughed and told me your father would always rather tell a lie than the truth; I never could understand why!”

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Mama striking a pose, as usual… Somewhere I think in Union Point.

 Mama wasn’t feeling well the other day and after going to the Doctor, they put her in the hospital overnight. She was fine, except for congestion and a cold and came home the next day, but from talking to her in the hospital. “I’m not a happy person here, especially not in the winter. I don’t like anyone to be the boss of me, even you. I’ve asked for a cup of coffee as I’m freezing in here and they bring me nothing. I bet that Doctor will be glad to see me go tomorrow morning. I just want to go home, get in my own bed and find a good movie on TV and get naked! I’d like to tell them what I used to hear, I’m getting my drawers on and going home”

Tonight after telling Mama what I was making for supper – biscuits, sausage and gravy, she said. “that sounds good, I’d like to have some of it, but I want some sliced tomatoes with mine. Nothing is better than a nice slice of tomato with your breakfast – especially one from the garden, not any bought ones.”

“When Daddy ground the wheat at the mill, he saved the bran flour for the dogs and we ate the white flour. He took the bran and made hoe cakes for the dogs – we should have been eating the bran and giving the dogs the white – who knew back then.”

“I still believe that my Mama had Indian blood in her – her family always said they had Blackfoot Indian in their lines. I was told that she had jet black hair when she was young – we have no early pictures of my mother. I would love to have seen her as a young girl.”

“When I called Mama tonight (Jan. 15-2009) she began telling me how cold it was and that it’s suppose to be zero in the morning. Nothing new to us, we are having the same cold freeze. Then she began saying, “I wanted to hang something on the wall tonight and I couldn’t find my small hammer. In looking for it, I laid down the tacks in my hand somewhere so Boo wouldn’t get them, and then I couldn’t find the hammer. Finally I found my hammer, then I couldn’t find where I put the tacks. Boy did that make me madder than a wet hen. I finally found the tacks in an empty bottle. It’s funny how I can remember everything of my life when I was young, and now, most times, I can’t even find myself.”

I was telling Mama about the tiny gnat that Pepe was watching and she began telling me. “We call them “drunkards.” I remember my parents calling them that – they’d get after anything that was souring or decaying and they love beer cans.” I guess they called them drunkards because of the beer cans they hung around.”

“When I cook chicken, I often soak it in salted water overnight to draw the blood away from the bone – my Mama did that. When I freeze chicken, I always freeze it in salted water – it stays fresher and doesn’t get freezer burn. Talking about chicken reminds me of chicken and honey. Nothing is better than a fried chicken leg with honey poured over it. I learned to eat that when I was a waitress at the Nathaniel Greene Restaurant in Greensboro. The cooks ate it in the kitchen and told me one night, “don’t knock it until you try it.” I tried it and loved it.” 

“I had French toast for supper tonight. I like to cut off the sides when I make it, especially if the bread is older – the sides are tough. You were very curious about what you ate when you were young. You didn’t eat bananas, and you only ate Hunt’s ketchup, no matter what. One time I poured Heinz in a Hunts bottle and you still wouldn’t eat it. You also ate no tomatoes or lettuce. When we went to the farm, you only wanted to go over to Grandmamma Bryan’s and eat a big bowl of fried corn.”

Mama’s new saying – “Once an adult, and twice a child.”

Think about it – it’s true!

Mama told me today about her great find at FISH. “I found another cast iron pan at FISH today, bigger than the last one I paid 50-cents for. They only had two dollars on it so I snapped it up before someone beat me to it. I figured one of you would want it when you come down and find it on the wall in the kitchen. I just hang things around when I find them, and whoever wants it – can just take it. When I stopped back the next day I saw a nice small one and they had eight dollars on it – whoever put the price on that one must be crazy, no one will pay that for a small pan.”

 “Do you remember the big fireplace we had in the house on Hillcrest Ave (706 Hillcrest)? Actually we had two fireplaces in that house, the other one was in the living room, but we never used it. The one in the den was big and there was a brick hearth about 12-14 inches off the floor. On each side of the fireplace were large knotty pine bookcases. That’s where I kept those huge encyclopedia’s I bought for you – that you never used. Mr. Bobby White used to bring firewood for my father because he liked to build a fire all the time. I wish I had one of  those nice wooden electric fireplaces like they advertise on TV, but I don’t know where I would put it.”

“Did I ever tell you I was a good runner in school? I could outrun all the boys in school. Kendrick Lewis and I would fight and run to see who would be first in line at the lunch room. Sometimes I’d beat him and sometimes he’d beat me. When we lived in Perry I used to run around with all you kids, one time I raced one of the boys down to the tennis court around the corner; I don’t remember who won. I don’t think I could do anymore running now, I’d be afraid I’d fall and break my neck.”

  “I went out to Starbucks today to pick up some of the used coffee grounds they give away. I put them in my garden every week – maybe I’ll see a difference this summer. I’m a regular there, but not for the coffee – too expensive for me. I’ll just make myself a cup of instant coffee – I’m not a coffee connoisseur like you.”

“My friends Carolyn and Marilyn at Senior Citizens today gave me graham cracker balls. They were dipped in chocolate – and you know anything with chocolate is right up my alley. She just crushed the graham crackers, mixed them with peanut butter, molded them into balls and dipped them in chocolate. Meghan, my neighbor on the street, also gave me the same type of cookie, but it was a little different – both were very good. You’ll have to search for the recipe on the internet, but I don’t think you really need a recipe. I might try and make some one day – if I’m in the mood. I will ask them if they have a recipe for you.”

As soon as I called Mama tonight, she said. “You know what I’m doing right now? I’m shelling pecans, and I hate it! It makes my hands feel dirty.”  I laughed and asked her, you’re sending them to me, right? “You know I’m sending them or I’ll put them in the freezer and you can take them home. I brought a brick inside and cracked most of them with it and then I used a nut cracker also. When I get through, I’m going to take the shells and throw them in my garden.

I should have really rich dirt this year from all the banana peelings, coffee grounds and garbage I throw in the garden. I bury everything in the garden, even the torn up junk mail. I sit at night and tear it into small pieces and when I go to the garden, I dig a hole and bury it. It’ll decompose and rot in the earth.”

 “We had hat day at Senior Citizen’s today and guess what I wore? I wore the hat you made that hangs in the dining room with the flowers and long bow. I pinned a price tag on the long ribbon of the bow and went as Minnie Pearl. Vickie surprised me when she made an announcement over the speaker at lunchtime that we had a special guest today – Minnie Pearl is here! It really caught me off guard when I heard her say it – I was not expecting anything like that.” (I wish I had a picture of her in that hat)

“When I was a little girl I remember my father rolling his own cigarettes. He had a special cigarette roller – I don’t know whatever happened to it. He would lay down a tobacco leaf, sprinkle tobacco over it and when he pulled or cranked the handle, it rolled it up nice and tight and then he sealed the edge at the end. I only remember him using it when I was really young. I liked when he let me roll them for him. Always, before going to town, he’d roll a few and put them in a pack so he wouldn’t have to roll them by hand while out. I don’t ever remember him buying cigarettes. He used Prince Albert tobacco in a tin and he also chewed Red Crow tobacco. I sure wish I knew what happened to that roller of his. Later when he was older and did buy cigarettes, I remember him saving all the empty packs. He’d bundle them up and tuck them away in the drawer. I don’t know why – he didn’t like to throw anything away.”

“Another thing I don’t know what happened to was Daddy’s razor strap that he sharpened his straight razor on when he shaved. It always hung by the bedroom door near Mama’s vanity and he used it every time when he shaved. Maybe it got taken to the nursing home and just disappeared. You still have his shaving mug and brush.”

“I remember having a BB gun when I was a young girl. I don’t know what happened to it, other than it probably was given away to another child when I outgrew it. I would take it out and shoot at birds in the woods. I never had a real gun, but I could shoot my brother or father’s rifle when they were with me, but I never had my own.”

“My Daddy didn’t get hard of hearing, as he got older, like some people do – he just got more hard headed than he always had been. I think when people get older, they just don’t care about things anymore. I’m that way now. Don’t get me upset – because you don’t know what  might come out of my mouth or what I’ll do.”

“I never did or don’t today like anybody bossing me – nobody is my boss. The only boss I ever had was my daddy. He bossed me when I was young, and still tried to after he was older and I was grown; but I let him think he was bossing me. I don’t take orders from anyone, I’m my own boss. I still tell you, you’re not my boss. If someone tries to boss me, look out, I’ll get pretty mad and tell them, they are not my boss – I don’t care who they are.”

To be continued…

© 2015 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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