Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #39

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #39

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Jan. 1, 2017: I called mama around 10 tonight and she immediately said, “it’s 11 o’clock, what are you doing up?” I laughed and said, “well when we spring ahead, it’ll be 11 again, it’s only 10 now, your clock is wrong.” “Oh yeah, I never change those clocks, it will catch up.” Then she asked… “what’s all that noise in the background, sounds like someone is singing.” “I’m watching a show called That’s Entertainment, a montage of movie clips of dancing and singing. I enjoy watching and listening to shows like this when I’m on the computer, I don’t have to pay too much attention to it.” “I don’t like those, I had enough dancing when I was growing up, going out to dances. So what are you doing on the computer?” “I’m writing, what else do I do!” She laughed…. “God is going to put you in charge up there and you can write everything down. Haha, what will he do with me?” I told her… “he will put you in charge of the flower gardens.” “I don’t know about that, I don’t do that any more. It’s dreary here, it thundered early just once – just out of the clear blue sky, and scared me and Boo! He took off to the living room and didn’t come back for awhile.”

“Boo hid under the covers last night… too many firecrackers were being shot off. If he wasn’t under the covers, he was under the bed. Even ringing a bell hurts animals ears. I remember on the farm, how when we’d ring the farm bell, that the dogs would howl! Remember how Teddy Bear used to howl when you played the piano.”

Happy New Year 2017!!!

Jan. 2, 2017: Wow, another year, seems like just yesterday it was 1999. But yet when I look at those years as dates, it seems like so long ago. My life is flying by! I had called mama to wish her a Happy New Year! I asked if she saw the ball drop? “Yes I was up late and saw the ball drop, but I wouldn’t want to be there – all wedged – in with those people… for all the money in China. I don’t like crowds like that, but if I was younger, I wouldn’t have had any more sense than to have gone there.”

Jan 6, 2017: No sooner than I called tonight then mama told me… “I need to go to the store, but I’ve gotten so lazy. I need some eggs, I’m tired of stew.” I mentioned that I saw on Walmart’s page that they have a food delivery service… I could order food, but she’d have to drive and pick up – and they’d even bring it out to the car. “No, I don’t want that, I’d rather drag myself to the grocery store. I’ll go out… maybe tomorrow afternoon.” I asked about eggs on the farm… “Mama always kept the eggs on the counter at the farm, I don’t know why. Maybe because there was no refrigeration like today?” I mentioned that I had heard that fresh eggs had to be kept out of the fridge, that’s why I asked.

I told mama tonight to begin remembering stories about when she worked at Holiday Inn… “I’ll have to think about them, it’s been a long time.” I bet they would make for some funny stories, not sure if I could print them all…

When I mentioned coupons and asked if she still used them, that sparked memories… “I remember when I used to go to the recycling center here, just outside of town. I wonder if I could still find it; there was a side road you went down to the place. It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about that place. I’d climb way up high on all those newspapers and magazines, sit and pull out the coupon inserts. I stayed there awhile pulling them all out, then lugged them home and sat on the floor the rest of the afternoon cutting coupons and making piles to give away to different people. You had the biggest pile, remember all those envelopes you got stuffed with coupons. I bet no one would have done that for me, but I saved coupons for everyone. I hope they appreciated them, as I sat all day, and then some, cutting coupons. I bet today they wouldn’t even let people come in there like that, and I know I wouldn’t want to do that now.” Yes I remember all those stuffed envelopes of coupons mama sent me…and they sure helped. Different parts of the country where they didn’t double coupons, the manufactures put higher amounts on the coupons, so while mama’s would be fifty cents, mine would be twenty-five cents… and with hers I got the cereal free most times when it was 99 cents.

I shopped a lot at Pathmark back then and I got the full value of the coupon even if the item was a less sale price than the coupon amount. Many times they paid me to carry it home… that always made Steve laugh! At one time, I probably had over a hundred bars of soap in the cellar. I’ll never forget the time I had coupons for Mountain Dew, I must have brought home dozens and dozens of 2 liter bottles… so many that Steve opened the cellar window and I stood outside and passed them down to him so he wouldn’t have to carry the bags in and down to the cellar. And the funny part is, we didn’t really drink it and the kids didn’t want it, so it probably was wasted, but they paid me to bring it home, so I guess I felt compelled to buy it. Whatever I bought back then, I bought in large quantities if it was on sale, because I had quantities of coupons. I’d never do that today, but I was getting most all that for free, so I wasn’t leaving them in the store! At one time we must have had over a hundred bars of soap in the cellar; Steve had counted them! I wish I had kept some of those receipts, as they showed some really high savings.

I encouraged my father-in-law to begin using coupons, and I gave him plenty. He became really hooked on couponing, and had quite an assortment himself… never shopping without them! My mother-in-law used to complain that he’d bring home stuff she didn’t want or could use, but if he got it for free, he was going to bring it home!

“Boo is curled up at the foot of the bed while I’m talking to you. He is catching some really good sleep tonight. I wake up in the middle of the night to find him so close to my back… he couldn’t get any closer if he tried.”

I began telling mama about my friend at work who calls her, “Driving Miss Daisy” and how I told her the story about Clyde… Laughing she said, “Oh, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about Clyde. Yea I used to tell the men the story… sure you can come visit me at the farm, we will walk down to the pond in the moonlight and stand looking up at the moon. Then we’ll turn to walk back to the house and I’ll hear …slurp… and old Clyde will have come up behind us and “whoosh” another man gone! I remember the guys would fall over laughing when I’d tell that story to someone who never heard it before… as they knew what was coming.”

Jan. 8, 2017: It was 12 degrees this morning when I called mama – 18 degrees in Monroe and she said she wasn’t cold… “I’m not cold, Boo and I are under a quilt and we’re both nice and warm. I haven’t looked out or even opened the door to the porch yet. I don’t think Boo wants to go out there, even though he does have a nice fur coat on. I’m out of coffee and donuts, but I’m not going to the store today. I do miss my coffee! I’m just so lazy lately, everyday!

When I told her I was watching Elvis movies today, that it was his birthday… “He never showed me nothing! I used to see him standing outside the Army-Navy store in Memphis, he would be picking and singing with his guitar with his foot propped up on a post. I can still close my eyes and see him like it was yesterday. Your daddy favored him a lot when he was young… look at his early photos of him in his Navy uniform and you’ll see it. He should have stayed in the Navy and maybe we wouldn’t have gotten divorced. We should have never come back home to Union Point and near his mother. He was different in the Navy, but he changed back to his old ways when he got out of the Navy and we came home.”

She asked again about the DNA test…  “they better hurry up – hope they don’t tell me again that they couldn’t test it again”…. Laughing she said. “I must be so hard to figure out as to why they are taking so long. I wish they’d hurry up, I want to see what this DNA thing shows on me.”

Jan. 9, 2017: As soon as I called tonight…. “Well I went to the grocery store today and bought more eggs,  Ensure and I got my coffee… I have my cup right here sipping on, and it’s so good. I love my coffee! They say it’s good for you too! Boo is laying here with his head laying in the palm of my hand and he’s just rolling his body around but staying close. He’s such a spoiled cat and he knows his mama spoils and loves him! Who’s got it better than Boo!”

Jan 10, 2017: When I called, mama answered as soon as it rang… “Boo is laying right up next to me sound asleep, I grabbed the phone really quick when it rang so he wouldn’t wake up.” I told mama that Obama was on giving his farewell speech… “well he could have given that on his first day and it’d be alright with me.”

This cat is so dead asleep, I think I could pick him up and hold him and he wouldn’t wake up. He’s happy when he’s laying on this bed. If someone tried to move him, he would be so mad. His tail is a flapping now – he knows I’m talking about him.

In mentioning a dream to mama, she told me… “I used to dream this dream about my brother Leroy, and I dreamed the same exact dream many times… always the same. In my dream I would be driving on this road, going around a corner, up a hill. As I’m going up the hill I see a house on the hill, a big Southern home with columns holding up a porch that you would drive your car underneath. And in my dream, I knew Leroy was living there, but I didn’t see him, I just knew he was there. Maybe it was showing me that he was in Heaven! I can’t remember where I was, but one day I saw that house in my dream and it made me remember that dream about Leroy, and after that I never had the dream again. Now what did that mean? I hadn’t thought about that dream in a long time until tonight. Sometimes I used to dream about my father, but that was a long time ago. I dream about both of them also, but not much anymore. At times, it seems like those times were just so long ago.”

I mentioned Holiday Inn to mama, where she used to work years ago, and asked what was the strangest thing that ever happened there… “There was a man that was eating dinner with two women in the dining room and somehow he slipped off into the lounge and ordered a drink. I served him, then the two women came in and sat down beside him and asked me to pour the drink out. He just sat there and cried, he wanted that drink, that last drink so bad. They told me they were taking him to rehab. The look in his eyes was the saddest thing I’d ever saw,  they were begging for that drink, as tears ran down his face.”

“We had a blind man at Holiday Inn that came a few times a week to play the piano in the lounge. No one could slip up on him either – I used to try and sneak up on him, but he’d catch me and call me out every time. He always knew I was coming, he said he could hear my walk.”

I asked mama, what was the strangest drink you were ever asked to make… Laughing she said, “This guy asked for a “skip and go naked” one night. I laughed and told him, “well that’s a new one on me, but if you can tell me what’s in it, I’ll make it.” I can’t exactly remember it all, but it was a beer, topped with something… I’ll have to think more on that.”

Tips weren’t much then, usually $1 dollar or $1.50, people didn’t tip that much, until they’d had a little to drink, it was a small town. The only other place to drink was on the other side of town at the VFW; they’d go there to because they had slot machines. Madison used to be a-hopping town on Friday nights. Lot of truckers stopped at Holiday Inn because it sat next to I-20. They watched out for me on those late night drives home – that’s how I got my nickname Angel, from the CB I had in the car. My name on the CB radio was the 1 Angel. They chatted with me all the way home, so I always felt safe driving alone at night as I headed home to the farm.

One night when I was almost home on the back roads, I ran up on a man laying across the road. I immediately got on the CB and the truckers came back on telling me to “not” get out of the car, but slowly inch up close to him and blow the horn, so I did. He slowly raised up, looked at the car and got up. He staggered to the side of the road and fell over in the ditch. They told me to go on, that he was probably drunk, but safe now on the side of the road.”

January 11, 2017: One of the first things mama said to me when I called tonight was, “yes I already took my pills, aren’t you surprised?”

“I went to the center today, but it was really quiet as many of them had gone on a trip somewhere. When I came home I tried going through some of my clothes”… my reaction… “Really!”

“It was like summer here today, almost 70 in January! I even worked out in the yard today for quite a bit fixing some of the rocks that had fallen down around my flowers. Then I came in the house and jumped in the bed, and haven’t left. Boo is like a little knot under the covers here, all curled up. If I put the covers on him, he won’t stay… he has to do it by himself.”

“I don’t know why I worked in the yard today. I was headed to the mailbox and I just stopped to fix one rock that had fallen, and I just kept going on and on. It was so warm outside, I guess it just made me want to stay outside for a change.”

“I had the funniest phone call this evening… when I answered, a man asked me to donate some money to Trump, and I came right back with… as I was laughing… “man are you crazy, Trump’s got more money than me, he doesn’t need my money. Why would I need to give him money.” That man just hung up! I just sat here laughing when I hung up.”

When I mentioned about how the twins are with each other and how I think Ana is so devilish, she said… “I remember daddy being devilish, maybe Ana takes after him. He’d take a struck match, that was still just a little warm, and stick it to mama’s leg when she walked by to see her jump. He would chuckle!”

I mentioned that I would be featuring Aunt Lena’s broach on my blog Friday night, and she said… “It was after Aunt Lena died that I got the broach, her sister Emma gave it to me. It must have some worth to it as Lena didn’t wear any costume jewelry, she had all nice pieces. I remember that it had diamonds in it. She gave me a few glass pieces and her sewing cabinet that held her threads… and I gave it to you. Aunt Lena did a lot of sewing, she even made my white graduation dress, but made it too big… saying that I could grow into it. That’s what people did back then, so you’d get more use out of things, and I always hated that. I liked things to fit and not be big on me; I never wore that dress a second time.”

In telling mama about a photo I found of monkeys hanging in a tree…. “I used to cut them out myself and paint them. I don’t have time to do that anymore, now I have to lay in bed.. Laughing! I’d like some more of those monkeys to hang on that chain separating my driveway. Maybe Steve can cut me out some, that would be so cute.” (I found a pattern already, so guess what Steve will be doing soon.) Boo just came out from under the covers as I’m talking… he got off the bed and went on in the living room. He doesn’t like being disturbed. I’ll go get him after I hang up and bring him back to bed.”

Jan. 13, 2017: I began telling mama about the great “almost” escape of the mouse tonight. Steve went to pick up a pizza, and while I sat on the couch Penelope came into the living room with something dangling from her mouth. I stood up to see and… she dropped something – a small grey mouse. Yikes! I only had a book in my hand, so I dropped it on him, but after a few seconds he scrambled behind the TV with Penelope in pursuit. I ran into the kitchen looking for something to catch him in, but couldn’t find anything right away. Finally he ran under the couch and I gave up until Steve came home. After eating, we began the game of playing “mousetrap”… me armed with a kids butterfly net and him with the vacuum cleaner. Finally he yelled he had him cornered and when I turned on the vacuum, he sucked him right up. Mama laughed, and… “Poor little mouse, he took his last ride up the vacuum tube. I used to have a baby mouse as a pet. I found him up in the barn and put him in a matchbox, he was so tiny. I was trying to feed him, and called myself raising him until daddy discovered what I was doing. Well that was the end of him as daddy stomped him. He was such a bitty baby of a mouse, but daddy fussed about how they carry diseases and I better not bring any more into the house.”

“I didn’t go to the center today as I overslept… so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. I’m really sore from moving around all those rocks in my gardens the other day. Boo didn’t mind, he just rolled over with me, the two of us are so lazy!”

Jan. 15, 2016: Mama called me tonight… she was watching the bad weather in Texas and wanted to know if we were all right… LOL. I told her she was closer to Texas than us… “You could have went outside in your bathing suit today, it was beautiful just like summer. I remember when I liked to sunbathe in my birthday suit when I was about 16 or 17. I’d go out in daddy’s wheat field and beat a path down, then lay a quilt. No one could see me way out in the middle of the wheat field. It used to make daddy so mad that he could eat ten-penny nails!”

“After moving back to the farm, I liked to sunbathe with Willie Mae’s girls, they’d come over and we’d all lay out in our bikini’s. We usually climbed up on top of the car shelter and lay – one day this guy was painting over on the farmhouse and he didn’t know we were over there, he looked over and saw three girls in bikini’s and he fell off the ladder; we never laughed so hard.”

I asked mama about Aunt Emma (McKinley – granddaddy’s sister) coming to visit at the farm… “She and Uncle Charlie only came about once or twice a year. They had more of an expensive car like a Studebaker I think, not like our Model T. Uncle Charlie would give us kids pocket change after he’d had a few… we didn’t mind, but Aunt Emma got mad. She came down to visit her father, my grandfather, who lived over near Slip Rock. They had a nice house there, too bad it was allowed to just fall apart after they moved over to White Plains. A colored couple moved in, then there was a fire, and maybe after that, no one lived there anymore. I remember stopping there several years after my grandfather moved out and asked to walk through. It was a well built house, too bad it wasn’t kept up.”

Jan. 16, 2017: I told mama tonight that I gave the corner spool cabinet to Rose today. I was offering it, and she asked if she could have. I told her it was ok if she wanted to paint it for the girls room; she said she might use it in their room for dolls and books. She came over with Ana and Nina this morning to get it. As soon as she got home, she cleaned it and from the photo she sent later, she put it downstairs in the hallway by the girls playroom – she thought it was the perfect corner for it – now it holds family photos! I guess the girls will have to wait for another bookcase. Mama said, “Ulma McKinley made the two that I gave you, mama had wanted them and she made them for her. We had them in our house for a long time – takes a lot of spools to make them, maybe mama gave her spools?

Jan. 17, 2017: Mama answered the phone all silly tonight, she knew it was me, then said, “I guess if it wasn’t you, someone would have wondered who the heck I was. I went down to the center this morning and stayed for lunch, but didn’t really eat anything; just sat there and yacked with everyone and stirred it around. I forgot to bring Mama Cat, in the yard, some of the food off my plate. I remembered it when I saw her meet my car in the yard; poor thing was disappointed when I had nothing for her!”

I asked mama tonight about a photo I found of either her or Willie Mae standing in a lake wearing a grass skirt, she said… “I vaguely remember wearing a grass skirt out at Grandpa Bryan’s old place, I think there was a lake out near his house. It could be me or Willie Mae; if the skinny legs are the same size all the way up, then it’s Willie. I was in the back room sorting out some things this afternoon, trying to make myself up some outfits to wear to the center.” Mama kept yawning, then I’d yawn, we went back and forth yawning so much, that I finally said, “I gotta go… so we both stop yawning.” I don’t know why, but if one of us yawns, it’s a chain reaction!

Jan. 18, 2017: When mama answered, I told her… you’re little girlfriend was here today. I made baked French toast this morning and her and Grace gobbled it down. McKinley told me, “this is very good.” Then she saw a paint by number of a deer on the dining room table and asked me about it. I told her that Pop’s mother painted it, she looked at me and said, “is she an artist?” What comes out of her mouth amazes me, she’s only 4 1/2! I asked mama if she remember me doing paint by number as I remembered painting them. “No I don’t remember you doing that, but I don’t remember a lot of that. I didn’t do them, I painted, but what I wanted to, not with any paint by number sets. Remember I had some in the back room that I put rocks around to make a frame – you took them home one year.”

I mentioned vegetable soup as I was looking at a recipe of a vegetable soup that had cabbage in it, and… “I’d like cabbage in it, but you can keep the spinach, I wouldn’t want it in my soup. You can make some soup and send me”…. And she’s laughing. “I wonder what the mailman would say if I told him I’m sitting here waiting for the soup my daughter is sending.” Then we began talking about Poor Man’s Soup she used to make. I make it also but only Melissa and I basically liked it, especially when I put Butter Beans in it, Stephen hated them, but Melissa loved them. “They make a good vegetable soup down at the center, but they make terrible cornbread. I want a thick piece of cornbread so I have something to put in my soup and they give you this thin piece of cornbread… I don’t call that good cornbread. I don’t know why they can’t make good cornbread there. The next time they make it, I’m going to go in the kitchen and ask them for a piece of the cornbread they make for themselves, I bet it’s better than what they are serving the old folks. I used to make good cornbread, but probably can’t make it now. All I used was White Lily cornmeal and buttermilk; it’s already got the salt and baking powder in it. I have put an egg, but generally I don’t. Now I just don’t want to cook, I’ll just go open an Ensure if I’m hungry sometimes.”

“They usually don’t make soup at the center unless it’s cold, and it hasn’t been cold this winter, and now January is almost over – strange winter. We had cold winters when I was a little girl. I remember ice on the ground before I even went to school. There would be over an inch of ice at times. One time Leroy, called himself skating on the ice, and he slipped going around the side of the house and knocked himself out. This was when we lived in the cabin near Slip Rock. I also remember there was a wild blueberry bush in the yard and I’d eat the berries. I don’t know why daddy didn’t dig it up and take it over to the farm when we moved; guess he didn’t like them maybe.”

“There was also a chestnut tree in the yard at the cabin, although I don’t remember eating them, but maybe we did. I don’t see any chestnut trees now, I bet if you went in the woods you couldn’t even find one no matter how hard you looked. You just don’t even hear anyone even mentioning them now.”

Jan. 19, 2017: I asked tonight if she had been watching Trump on TV tonight, then I told her I made “poor man’s soup” tonight, and … “I’m tired, I worked out in the yard today as it was so pretty and warm. I needed to clean all that dirt out of the road in front of my house as the city only seems to clean the other side of the street with the street cleaner – I never see it come down on my side of the street. While I was out there working, a young police woman stopped and asked what I was doing, and I told her that I wouldn’t have to be cleaning this dirt out in front of my house if the city did their job! She mentioned that I could get hit out here, but I told her, “I’m watching the cars coming this way, and when I see and hear them I step back in my yard to let them pass.” I also told her that she should come hang here with me and see all the speeders coming down this road, then I asked her if she knew that – she said no she didn’t. My eyes are watching all the time for cars and I just step back in when I see them coming. Well it’s all clean now until it builds up again. Now everybody can stop watching me, they all like to put their 2-cents in.” I mentioned to her that she should get a couple of cones and stick out there when she works, and… “Yes I should get myself a couple of cones to use. Maybe I’ll make myself a sign and put next to the mailbox that says “Slow – People Working.”

Then mama remembered last night how I told her I was making Poor Man’s Soup and… “Where is my soup, don’t tell me about it, if you’re not going to deliver me any.” I wish she lived closer as she’d eat well.

Jan. 20, 2017: When I called tonight, I asked well did you watch Trump become the 45th President today? “I didn’t even go to the center today as I was too tired after working in the yard yesterday. I forgot all about Trump today, LOL. I probably saw some of it in flipping the channel, but I didn’t search any out; I think I slept a lot today.”

I made a spinach appetizer today, do you like spinach? “I don’t really like it, but if it’s got a lot of cheese in it like you told me, I’d probably like it. You’ll have to bring me some.” Ok, I’ll make some and bring it next time, we can always pick on it on the drive down. “Well don’t eat it all before you get here,as now I want to taste it.”

To be continued…

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

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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One Response to Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #39

  1. Evelyn Smith says:

    Well, no surprise that I love your story.
    Afraid I’m getting just like Helen, lazy. I have to force myself to get anything done sometimes.
    Speaking of forcing myself, I need to convince myself to get moving.
    Boo hides during storms just like my kitty, Soxy, does. The first loud clap of thunder and/ or flash of lightening, she’s gone. I’m gad Helen has Boo to keep her company.
    Talking of Helen sending you coupons, Grandmother Grace would send my sister staples, when she moved to Ohio. About once a month or so, she’d box up grits and strickalean and send to my sister. She had to use special packaging for the strickalean but she’d send it. I’m thinking she’d also send a couple of other things but can’t remember. Then I was sent up there when my sister was pregnant with her third son and with me went one of those packages.
    I still laugh about you, Steve and that mouse. I can’t help myself. Guess it’s the picture in my mind of you with that net and Steve with the vacuum.
    By the way, I don’t know if I’ve asked before but who are those two in that picture with Helen and Leroy? I may be crazy but that little girl looks like Mother.
    Keep the stories coming and don’t forget to send Helen some soup.

    Liked by 1 person

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