Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #18

Conversations with Mama… and more ~ #18

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Mama (I think) in the long dark coat on the steps

In telling Mama about a pink poodle backpack I bought Ella that has a leash attached for Rose to hold onto her with when she walks, she said… “ I tied you to a tree once when your father took us fishing. I tied you where you had just enough room to put your pole in the water and play but couldn’t fall in. I couldn’t swim and your father kept walking away to fish all around the pond so I had to make sure you didn’t fall in. I saw a little boy the other day that had one of those leashes on – it was so cute.”

In talking about Mama’s friend Willie Mae, she told me. “One time Willie got really mad at me when we both worked at Holiday Inn – we were grown. I worked as a bartender and she was a waitresses in the dining room. Two of her boyfriends came in at the same time one night and sat at the bar and talked to me – I knew them both. When she came by and saw them both there she told me to get them to leave, but I told her that if I tried to get them to leave, they would then get suspicious, so I said nothing. When she walked back by and saw them still sitting there, she shook her fist at me – I told her quickly, “hey wait a minute – I’ll meet you outside.” We always fought as kids over clothes and boys; she didn’t take it outside, but I was ready.”

“I liked to spend the night with Willie when her parents ran the City Hotel in Union Point; there was a lot of things to do and get into there and always interesting people to see. Willie and I could just look at each other and fall over laughing, just like Stephen and Melissa do and probably still do today. We still did that even as we got older while working together at the Holiday Inn in Madison. I remember one night at the City Hotel when we climbed in the linen closet that was out in the hallway. We laid on the sheets and propped our feet up against the door. Whenever someone came by and opened the door, our feet would just plop out in the hallway. I remember us laying there laughing and laughing over that as our feet and legs lay in the hallway. To us, it was just the funniest thing! Willie liked to hide in there when she was mad at her parents. I still do that today with my friend Carolyn – If I find something funny, especially at the Senior Center, I’ll look at her and roll my eyes and then fall over laughing. Some people must think I’m crazy, but I don’t care – I do what I want, when I want, and if they don’t like it, then they can go somewhere else.”

“One time, while I stayed at the City Hotel, Willie popped some girl in the face and made her nose bleed – her father, Mr. Bill, told us the law would be coming for us, in trying to scare us. We were always into something and never thought twice about fighting, either someone else or each other. We only fought each other over clothes and boys.”

Mama’s new saying tonight – “she walked so fast that her hair was burning!”

“I remember my high school principal, Mr. Burke saying, “when the end of time comes, you’ll know it.” He said that all the time.”

I told Mama tonight that I had just talked to Stephen and he said he was going to give Ella a bath. She told me… “I used to mostly give you a bath with me in the tub. Your father would bring you in while I bathed, and then I bathed you – it was easier that way.”

“I talked to Melissa the other night and told her she better get busy before Ella takes over. I just know when she has a baby it’s going to be a little girl – she thinks she’s going to have a boy. I’m going to keep telling her to name her baby “Kinley Rose” or “McKinley Rose” and I’ll give her a thousand dollars. She better listen as it’s really important to me to have that name – it would make me so happy. Before I die, I want to know someone who is named Kinley Rose – sounds very Irish to me.”

Steve put our tree up tonight (Dec. 2010) and I told Mama how our cat PePe will not stay out of the tree – no ornaments are going up on it this year, just lights. She said… “ Mama Bryan never put up a tree in the house as I remember. She always decorated one in the yard with lights. I’m not putting one up for me, I’ll probably put up a string of lights and call it a day. I remember Mama Bryan always chewing a stick; like you see people chewing on a toothpick. I think they used sticks off the Sassafras tree back then for that. You chewed pieces off the bottom of the twig until the ends flared out like a brush. Some people used them for toothbrushes many years ago –  the twigs had a sweet taste. I remember my mother chewing on those sticks also.”

On the Martha Stewart show today (Dec. 7, 2010) they made wreaths out of sweet gum balls and I remembered seeing them on the farm so I asked Mama. “Yes we had sweet gum trees on the farm, there’s also some down in Coker Field behind my house here. Maybe I’ll go down and pick some up for you on a day when it’s not too cold. It’s been so cold here lately that all I want to do is crawl under the covers with Boo and watch TV. You have to wear gloves to pick them up, they are really prickly. ( I remember making ornaments for a Xmas tree we had at the farm one year when I was small. Mama made a cardboard star and covered it with foil and I searched outside for things to make ornaments with and I remember finding the sweet gum balls. I told Mama about that, but she said she didn’t remember doing it.)

I mentioned Woolworth’s to Mama tonight and…. “I remember taking you to Woolworth’s in Macon when you were young. After shopping we would eat a sandwich at the counter there. They later closed all their counters when the civil rights riots started. I took you shopping in Macon after you wanted no more home-made dresses for school; I remember buying you a red dress that you just had to have one day. You kept it for a long time, but I don’t know what happened to it. I’m surprised you still don’t have it somewhere.” (I can’t even remember what dress mama is talking about!)

I mentioned Ella’s earache tonight, and… “My mama used home remedies on us when we were sick. An old woman told my mother to put warm urine in the ear with cotton. I’m sure I had someone’s “pee” in my ear when I lived in the log cabin.”

 When I called tonight, Mama said. “I’m beginning to feel like the old woman who lived in the house with too many clothes and don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get rid of any of my clothes as I might want to wear them again. I have clothes everywhere, the back bedroom is really my walk-in closet. I seem to have clothes all over the house lately and it’s depressing me. The back room is full of clothes and shoes and I don’t want to get rid of anything.”

After telling Mama we had gotten over 20-inches of snow (Jan. 11, 2011) she said. “We got about three inches here today and I can’t go anywhere!  I went to the store yesterday and bought two things I needed, and one was my chocolate ice cream. There were people in there with piled high carriages, everyone was going crazy hearing about the snow we were getting. I guess me and Boo are stuck in the house for the week, I think they are closing the senior center too as no one will be able to get out. Do you remember the time I came up there when Stephen was a baby and after you took me to the airport I got snowed in and had to spend the night in the airport in Hartford? Steve had lent me a bag of his that had the name Insalaco on it and a man came up to me and asked if that was my last name as he had been in the service was an Insalaco. He didn’t know a Steve Insalaco. “I saw all about your snow storms on the news; if you need some more snow, I’ll send you ours.” (Mama never got out of the house until Jan. 15th.)

I told Mama to make herself some ‘snow ice cream’ with the snow, and she said. “When I was young my mother made us snow ice cream once in awhile when it snowed a little. She made chocolate or strawberry – it was so good. I’d be afraid to eat it today with what all is in the atmosphere. Especially with the birds falling out of the sky nowadays.”

Stephen told me that Ella pulled herself up today and took a step before sitting down and laughing (Jan.18th). When I told mama… “You took your first step in Rusty Morgan’s furniture store in Union Point. That was where your Daddy first worked when he got out of the Navy. You were standing there with me and you just let go of my hand and took your first step by yourself. Your father repaired TV sets there – then he left to go work for Mr. Henry English who ran a TV store. Did you know that Rusty Morgan played baseball for the GA Crackers before the name was changed to the Atlanta Braves?”

After I told mama about the 99-year old man I heard in the emergency room telling the nurse to just let him die, that he didn’t want to live anymore, she said… “You think you got troubles? Put them in a pile and after hearing other peoples’ – you’ll go dig  yours back up.”

I mentioned to Mama that I smelled someone’s fireplace burning and … “I love smelling a fireplace – it smells so good. Maybe it brings back memories of living on the farm with my parents. I loved when daddy popped popcorn over the fire. He had a long metal popper with a lid that held the popcorn as it popped. That was considered a real treat for us.”

I asked Mama tonight if she’d ever seen a show called Hoarders on TV and … “My mother was a hoarder about quilts and quilting material. She made one quilt after another and constantly pieced scraps for the next quilt. She never stopped using a quilt just because edges became  frayed – she’d continue using the old ones even though she had a stack of brand new quilts she had made. She also gave away a lot of quilts to the family. I guess I’m a hoarder with my clothes, shoes and jewelry. I’ve found four long skirts that I can wear with my boots. Everyone loves them – they are almost to my ankles. Went to FISH after the center today but can’t remember what I bought. I try to buy something everyday – about a dollar’s worth – have to support FISH.”

“One woman in the clothes closet calls me ‘eagle eyes’ because when I sit in there I watch people – and I don’t miss a trick. I see people steal in there all the time. There is one couple who will pay for one thing, then take the bag and before you know it the bag gets bigger and bigger. The women who work in there say they don’t see anything; I like to watch people.”

“Did I ever tell you about the time in Warner Robins when I was talking to the man at the door of the clothes store and then I went on to the car and realized that I still had clothes hanging on my arm that I never paid for. I went back to the store and told him that he wasn’t very good at watching for shoplifters as I had just talked to him and then walked right out with his clothes hanging on my arm. He laughed and said you could have just kept them”

To be continued…


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