Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #34

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #34

I call my mother almost nightly to chat, hear how her day went, and as always, enjoy her stories. Several years back, I began scribbling on paper those nightly musings. Later I started a journal on my computer and began Conversations with Mama, and just recently last year began compiling them here on my blog. On my last visit to mom, I gifted her a book of all I had so far – she had never saw them. Mama was thrilled with the book and took it to the senior center to show everyone. Thank You mama for your nightly conversations, they truly make my night!


If you haven’t read about Clyde in mama’s stories, well you’ve missed a treat.

Aug. 1, 2016: When mama answered I asked what was she watching… “I’m watching a show called Ninja’s where they compete against each other. I could have done all that when I was young – I used to hang by my heels from tree branches all the time; I wasn’t afraid to do anything.”

“I went to the center this morning, guess I figured I’d laid in bed long enough – all weekend! No one showed up to work in the clothes closet either. Even when you try and give it to them – they don’t show up; so I went in there for awhile.”

Aug. 3, 2016: While sitting in traffic headed to Pennsylvania, a beautiful orange butterfly floated across the windshield – someone stopped to say hello; now which one of our loved ones were saying hello? As traffic crawled along – very slowly – we began counting all the different license plates that passed us. We passed 19 states! When I told mama… “remember when we counted Coca-Cola bottles, or colors of cars when we traveled. I took one side of the road and you took the other. That’s when people threw out glass Coke bottles – and down South, they threw out lots of them.”

I called mama tonight to tell her I was in Pennsylvania. We went down for a little antiquing and to check out the Amish country. As soon as we got in Intercourse, PA. we began seeing all the buggies trotting all around town. The funniest thing was when we saw a buggy going through the bank drive-in window! Mama said… “We had some Amish people living outside of Perry – I remember going out there once; once in awhile they came to Perry in their buggies. Somewhere outside of Monroe are also some Amish families. The senior center drove out there once, but I don’t remember now where it was. Johnny put the new air conditioner in today, boy is it freezing me out. I think Boo likes it – he’s in the living room, but he also has a fur coat. Maybe if I get the back room cleaned out, you can put the old air conditioner in that room and someone can sleep back there.” (I laughed – telling her, what your walk-in closet! You’ll never get rid of all those clothes.)

Aug. 4, 2016: After we got home from PA. I called mama and… “I just feel unnecessary today, not feeling like myself, I used to tell my teacher that in school.” And then this tale… “One time when I worked at Nathanael Greene Restaurant a man I knew came in and ordered a steak – telling me – just slap it on the grill and turn it right over; well I went right back to the kitchen and cooked it myself just like he asked – he was being cute, so I was too. When I took it out, he didn’t really want it, but I made him pay for it! He left it on the platter but he did pay for it. He thought he was being cute – but I didn’t think so, and he got what he asked for. I remember some guys would come in and order in funny ways – like one guy ordered his burger – just walking. I think I gave it to him raw!”

August 6, 2016: No sooner than I asked what happened at the center today … “I don’t understand some of those people who come down to the center – I’ll never get old like that! They just come down and sit, not participating in anything and let others do for them. That will never be me! I’m gonna live!!!”

August 9, 2016: Often my first question is – how hot is it in Georgia tonight? “It’s kinda cool tonight, I turned the air conditioner off. I just like to be comfortable, not cold.” And then the conversation went to my father… “Whenever your father came to the farm he always laid down on the bed and took a nap. I know mama didn’t like it, as she didn’t like anyone to lay on the bed once she made it, but she never said anything – and he always made a big dent in the mattress… those were only cotton filled mattresses, not like today. I don’t know why he always had to take a nap when he came, but he did. My father used to say, he’d bury him standing up.”

I think I mentioned McKinley taking the bus to school next year, and… “I took two buses to school, one picked me up near my house and took us to town, where we waited for the next bus. After school when we got off the first bus, while waiting for the second bus to take us home, some of the kids would go into Mr. Johnny Jackson’s store for candy – I never had any money for that but often Mr. Jackson handed me a small bag of candy. Cousin Ulma McKinley often gave me a coke and peanuts if I went in their store on the corner before the bus came”

August 12, 2016: We were headed home Friday night when mama called, and… “Can you tell me why that car dealership in Winder that I bought this van from keeps sending me letters telling me how much they want to buy my car? (I’ve gone through this before with her and keep telling her, just rip them up without opening – they send them to me also.) They just keep sending letters and cards telling me they really want the van – why?” Of course I tried telling her that they don’t really want her car – they want her to come buy another car; but she wasn’t really having any part of it – LOL! So I told her, well why don’t you call them up and ask them why they want your car! “That’s a good idea, I think I’ll call them up tomorrow and ask why do they want my van so bad; maybe I’ll ask them… did you leave money in there that I didn’t find yet? I’ll aggravate them, like they do me with those letters!” When I hung up, Steve said, “now watch her call you tomorrow and tell you about the new car she bought!”

August 14, 2016: After finding a turtle on the road today, I called mama and when I mentioned it, she said… “Willie Mae and I found quite a few turtles when we played in the creek below her grandmother Walker’s house. We’d write our names or either the date on their shells with fingernail polish and send them on their way. There were probably some in the creek on the farm too, but since it was back behind the field where the bull was, we couldn’t go there.” I asked mama if they ever saw again those turtles they painted on – mama said No.

“One time while in Macon at Ann and Hinton’s (Amos) house, Hinton brought home a good sized turtle from work. He worked at Burn’s Brick in Macon; they made bricks from the Georgia red clay. They often dug up turtles that had buried themselves in the mud on the banks of where they dug for the clay. When he brought this turtle home, he covered it under a big tin tub, but the turtle had other ideas and got out… and when he saw Hinton in the yard, he stretched his neck out really far and chased him into the house. Hinton quickly got on the phone and called some man who had wanted the turtle – for food. It wasn’t long before the man showed up and caught the turtle – happy to have him; it was a snapping turtle. I think I’ve seen a turtle once or twice in my yard here, there is a small stream of water back down behind my house.” (I remember finding two shells at granddaddy McKinley’s farm when I was young; I still have them)

“I also raised a pig on a bottle when I was young; no sooner after filling a bottle with milk – he’d grab a hold of it and suck it dry. I toted him around in a blanket when he was small and he even came in the house and slept either under the stove or under my bed, but once he grew up daddy made me keep him outside. Leroy and I made him mean like a bull dog by pushing on him with our feet as we swung on the porch. One day a man came on the back porch and when he pushed him away – the pig bit him. Daddy decided to sell him after that as he was getting to be a big hog and he was afraid of what he might do to one of us. He told us that the man who bought him wanted him for a pet, but we knew better; daddy didn’t have the heart to kill him.”

August 16, 2016: When I called mama tonight, I asked if she had ever sucked on a honeysuckle for the juice; I had posted a photo of honeysuckle on Facebook today and the words on the picture said “remember when you sucked the juice out of a honeysuckle.” Well I never had heard of that, but many of my Southern family had; I guess I grew up under a rock! So when I asked mama…“Oh yes I used to do that and you had to be careful or you’d suck down a little spider when you sucked that sweet juice – I did that once too, but I didn’t swallow it – I coughed that spider right up. We always drank the honeysuckle juice when they bloomed. I also chewed on something called “sour grass” which tasted kinda tangy. And there was also some type of weed flower that had pods on them and we’d put them in our mouth, and the seeds would pop out, not sure if we ate them or not – or even why we did that. I guess it wasn’t poisonous, as I’m still here at age 86. I don’t know why we did those things, I guess we were just entertaining ourselves; you had to find things to do or your parents would find things for you to do – you never told your parents you were bored.”

I asked mama how the ant situation is, as last night she told me she had bought some ant traps and she said… “Oh they’re gone, I told you I’d get rid of them. I had told them they better get out! Ants come in when it’s dry, looking for water. It’s been so dry here all summer; it rains out at Carolyn’s in the country, but not around my house. The ground is so dry that I pulled up all my tomato plants and threw them out, only little tiny knobs on them and they were dying. They won’t grow from just tap water, they need real rain with nutrients to grow and produce.” (She feeds Boo in her bedroom – he insists to eat in there as well as the kitchen; he rules the house! He only likes to drink water from the spigot, that she turns on slow, in the bathroom sink – talk about a spoiled cat!)

In telling mama how the girls immediately pull their shoes off when they come inside, she said…”McKinley takes after me, I hated wearing shoes and still do… love being barefoot. The only shoes I can wear are open summer shoes, I can’t put my feet in any closed shoe and definitely not a sneaker like you wear. McKinley also is a string bean like I was in growing up. I was only 99 pounds when I married your father and I stayed at that weight for a long time. I never really gained weight, and I don’t care about food today. For the most part, I’m content to drink Ensure – and the only food I really want is Brunswick Stew.”

August 29, 2016: In talking about politics and Trump, and trying to encourage mama to vote this year – she’s a Trump girl… “I only voted once in my life and it was a Democratic vote. I probably voted for John F. Kennedy as that was a very popular election. I’m not voting anymore, but if I did… it would be for Trump!”

“I’m going to be the “Lady in Red” tomorrow at the center. I was just laying out all my clothes and accessories in the back room. I’m going to wear a red top with my blue jeans, my vest, my Ga. Bulldog flip-flops and Bulldog red purse and my red jewelry. I’ll be all decked out to strut my stuff!”

“You know you never did fix that bracelet for me that I bought one time. I want you to put all the grandchildren’s photos in it and bring to me when you come. Give it to Steve, he’ll figure out how to do it.”

“I like these boots on TV (she’s watching QVC), I think I’ll get me a pair this winter. I want a pair that zips all the way up to my knees. I’ll be tough! They are only $164 – dam! I don’t want those – not worth that kind of money. I’d never buy anything off TV – I like to touch and feel what I’m buying.”

September 2, 2016: I called mama to see if she had gotten any rain or wind from Hurricane/Storm Hermine. “No, not a drop, it’s illegal to rain here in Monroe. No wind either, maybe it will get windy and blow me on my broom up to CT. Keep your eyes open for me blowing by.”

To be continued…


Like to read more… click on Conversations with Mama and more

© 2016, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved.

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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2 Responses to Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #34

  1. Lyn Smith says:

    Love your stories and this one is no different. Helen is a real hoot.
    I’m with her on being barefoot. I don’t like shoes, either. I remember Daddy telling me I’d hide my shoes, hoping no one would find them. Funny, I have so many today and wear so few.
    Ants, those critters are a nightmare. I’ve had issues with them at least twice this year. I don’t care how hot and dry it gets outside, they need to stay the h— out of my house.
    I love that Boo drinks from the spigot. I had two cats once that loved drinking water that way. Of course, they’d drink from their bowls, as I wouldn’t leave the water running for them very long. Mother had a couple of spigot-drinking cats, too.
    Yes, you do such a wonderful job with putting things in story form.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t believe I’ve been writing her funny words for several years; I truly treasure them. If you don’t write things down – well they get lost in the cracks!


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