Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #40
Jan. 21, 2017: When I called mama tonight, I asked her about a photograph taken at the farm of her as a young girl, a baby, a young boy and a blond headed girl, and … “If that younger girl had blond hair, that was Grace’s daughter Margaret. They often came to the farm when Uncle Earle visited his father nearby.” And then the conversation turned to desserts… “Our desserts were cornbread and buttermilk after dinner, or a left-over biscuit sopping up sorghum syrup; mama made teacakes and pies but not often. When I came home from school there was usually a baked sweet potato sitting on the back of her stove… that was my treat! I’d grab that potato and enjoy it out on the stoop!”
“Most days mama was too busy ironing and chopping in the vegetable garden. She’d get up in the morning to chores, chores and more chores… wash day was all day, but she still had to cook lunch and dinner… all at the same time. The only entertainment for mama was reading.. Cousin Ulma (McKinley) gave her True Romance books, she read and then I read too. If she wasn’t reading, she was quilting or sewing.”
“The only treat mama and daddy had, was when they went to town on Saturday afternoon. She’d sit with her cousin Ulma (McKinley) at their store on the corner while daddy headed over to the filling station to talk politics and argue over who’s dogs were in the lead when they went fox hunting on Friday night.”
I was the first one to yawn tonight…. Mama says, “I’m not gonna yawn tonight, I’ll think about something else.” She never yawned!
It was bad weather in Georgia today and mama remembered… “I’ll never forget the tornado that laid a pine tree across the front porch at the farm. I had just came home late from work and I was doing something with the mattress, as I had it off the bed. When I heard the noise of the pine tree hitting the front porch, I dove under that mattress. After everything stopped, I called my cousin Kenneth and told him I was dead… he laughed and said, “well you’re talking to me.” Those winds pulled up that pine tree by its roots. That tornado came from the top of the road and must have came straight down, stopping long enough to pull that tree down, then it went on down the road below me.”
Jan. 23, 2017: I called mama tonight to tell her that her DNA results finally came back today, and that she is less Irish than I am… she’s 25 %, where I am 35%. “Well what about the Indian lines, what showed up?” No Indian ancestry shows up for you. “Well I don’t care what they say, I have Indian in me. I know my mama had Indian in her, and you can’t tell me any difference… she had that jet black hair.” Laughing I said, “well it’s not showing!”
I changed the subject to ask how she’s feeling tonight… “I feel a little better, but I’m wheezing a little tonight from all the coughing I did earlier. I’ll probably go down to the center tomorrow so I can tell everyone that my DNA came back and I have a little bit of everything in me.”
Jan. 25, 2017: Mama didn’t go to the center today, still under the weather a bit. “The center called to check on me today… a couple of my friends called; they probably missed my big mouth. Boo must be feeling better tonight as he’s laying right under me. When you called, he moved away and burrowed himself under my bathrobe at the foot of the bed… I don’t think he likes me talking on the phone.”
Jan. 28, 2017: I asked mama what she had for supper when I called… “I haven’t eaten yet, what did you eat?” “We had steak for dinner tonight”. “Shut your mouth” mama said laughing. I then asked her if she’d like a steak dinner when we come down, we could celebrate your birthday, but I guess you won’t eat the mushrooms, how about garlic bread? “No I won’t eat any mushrooms, never did like them, but I’ll take garlic bread, so when are you coming, now I’m hungry.” When I told her that Steve said he’d cook us a nice steak dinner, she said… “you have a good one there. I used to sit on the front doorstep at night and pray you’d find a good husband, I guess my prayers were answered.”
Jan. 29, 2017: Mama said she was feeling better, but still coughing… and promised me she was going to the center tomorrow… we will see! Somehow something I said made mama remember this. “Remember when I came up there one time and I had broken my tailbone. Steve was trying to make Stephen do something, when he said, “I can’t, I broke my tailbone.” Then Steve told him, “don’t do it and you’ll have a broken tailbone.” He was only a little guy, and he kept walking around saying he had broke his tailbone… it was so funny.” When I said “well I guess it’s time to hang up as I’m yawning too much”, mama said… “Time all dogs are dead, aren’t you glad you’re a puppy. Now where did that come from, that’s a really old line.”
Jan. 30, 2017: I called mama this morning to see if she really went to the center… Nope she didn’t go. Good thing I sent another delivery of Ensure to the house for her to keep drinking as she’s not wanting to go out lately. I’ll check back with her tonight. When I called… “Boo is laying right up next to me and I’m rubbing his belly. He’s got the Life of Riley here and doesn’t even know it. If he ever got out, he’d never be able to take care of himself. He relies on me for everything, especially when he wants to go out on the porch and I won’t let him.” And I’m the first one to start the yawning tonight, then mama yawns… what is up with that?
I told mama about a video I was watching on Facebook of three little kids playing in the mud and covered head to toe… “When the kids come down here I’ll make them a mud hole to play in like I did. When I was little, I’d go out in the cornfield or cotton field after it rained and stomp down my feet to make mud puddles; sometimes I’d be up to my knees almost in that mud. When I went to slip rock with Karen, Pat and Deb, we’d put mud on our faces as a mud facial and then lay out in the sun.”
Feb. 1, 2017: In telling mama tonight that I was working on trying to decide what I was going to write about on the A to Z Blog challenge in April this year, she said… “I don’t know why you worry yourself over these things. I don’t want to write on anything.” Then she started with the ideas of writing about her and the flowers she grows. “You could write about playing the piano… I don’t remember what happened to your piano, I think it was given to you by a woman that came to the beauty shop. She heard that I was looking for one so you could take piano lessons and gave it to you. But I still don’t understand why you want to rack your brain so much, cause I’d rather just sit here and do nothing. I can easily be content to sit here and watch TV, while doing nothing.”
Feb. 3, 2017: Mama called me tonight, as I missed calling her last night… she had heard we might be having bad weather here, and I said… “I live in Ct., it’s winter. LOL! It’s cold but no snow on the ground.” So what are you doing… besides laying in the bed? “Just me and Boo laying in the bed, guess he felt sorry for me so he came to lay with me. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d go out and get eggs, but too lazy. If I was really hungry though… I’d go. I have the Ensure that you sent, I’m all set! Some of the people at the center go crazy over the free cans and stuff they give out at the center… me I never want it. Living on the farm I never went hungry, so I don’t know what it’s like to be hungry I guess. Now if they were giving out free clothes, I’d probably go take a look, even though I don’t need anymore… I will always look.”
I mentioned taking Grace to Ballet class on Tuesday, and… “Now that’s something I would have liked when I was young, to take dance lessons. That was only for the city kids, the farm kids didn’t get to do any of that. Daddy would never have stopped plowing to go take me anywhere. It was always the city kids in school who got the parts in all the plays, I never could be in them.”
Feb. 6, 2017: When I called mama tonight, I could tell in her voice that something was wrong… “I don’t know what I was thinking this afternoon when I came home, but I can’t find my purse or car keys.” Well how did you get home, I asked. “I drove home, but I didn’t go in the house right away and piddled in my flower gardens, then when I went on the porch to go in, I had no keys. I went across the street to that young girls house and she came over, and somehow got my door open.” I tried to walk her back through what she did after getting out of the car, but at this point she was so upset over it, that I just let it go… tomorrow is another day as she’s safe in the house tonight.
Feb. 7, 2017: When I called this morning, she was outside with the cell phone, looking for her keys. My first words were, “please don’t lay the cell phone down, you need to wear dresses with pockets.” “I’ll try not to lay it down, but I’m just walking around looking for my keys, I can’t understand what I could have done with them…. Maybe I ate them. I’m not staying out much longer, I’m tired and my back hurts from bending over.” I told her to go inside and rest and somehow they will be found.
Ironically mama had a Dr. appointment this morning, I called and rescheduled. That was the easiest thing for me to do. I called the senior center, where she went on Monday, and no purse was left behind there. When I called mama… “this has me so upset, I can’t understand how I could have done something so stupid like this.”
I called my friend Donna down there and talked to her, she offered to go over later. By the time she was able to get there, a storm approached and rain down poured, so it was only a quick search in the car and outside with an umbrella… no keys! She brought mama soup, eggs and bread… so I felt relieved that there was food in the house, beside the Ensure that she likes to drink. Donna called later to tell me she would go back on Thursday, as she had a car appointment tomorrow.
I called mama later… no news – no keys. I told her that I would pray to St. Anthony again tonight and ask him to help her lost items be found, it works. Well haven’t we all done dumb things without thinking… don’t beat yourself up over it, I will work something out I told her. No matter what I said, she still beat herself up and I could tell that she’s really stressing herself out…
In further talking this evening, she said. “My purse is laying here on the bed, but the keys aren’t in it.” At this point, I don’t know if she ever lost it or not, but I wasn’t pushing her buttons on it, so I said, “see St. Anthony helped with the purse, he will help with the keys.” Tomorrow is another day! I began searching on google on how to find lost keys… guess I was looking for a miracle. What I seemed to find the most of was… when you threaten to buy another key or actually buy one… you find the lost key.
Feb. 8, 2017: I hesitated to call this morning, but I did…. “Well I still haven’t found my keys, maybe one of the cats outside took them.” Me… Really, I don’t think any of the cats wants your keys. They will turn up, it will just take time. “Well I’m going back out there after and keep looking.” When I got off the phone I called the dealership in Madison and priced keys and options of how to get the car there. To buy two keys was about five hundred dollars and who knows what the cost to tow the car would be, as it probably would have to go on a flat bed.
While at lunch today, mama rang my phone, it was my friend Donna calling… “Guess what, I found the keys! They were in the flower garden under her window. So now she’s back in business.” What a relief off my shoulders… while I slept like a baby last night, my husband dreamed about missing keys all night and didn’t sleep. Let’s hope everyone sleeps tonight as snow is coming our way on Thursday… yuck!
Mama called later this evening, and while she was relieved, she was very tired. Hopefully she sleeps tonight as St. Anthony helped again today sending her angel Donna to the rescue and leading her to the keys. Needless to say I’m looking for a key finder to take down there to put on her keys and purse… so at least if they are in the yard, she might locate them easier; she has misplaced them in the house before, so this should help. Who hasn’t misplaced their keys in the house? I am like a dog with a bone when I’ve misplaced something, and not content until it’s found, same with hubby.
At this point we’ve found almost all the missing things in our house we have been looking for…. except Godzilla’s tail and a photo of me with my parents in the Glass Bottom Boat in Florida; I can still see that photo and have no memory of taking it out of my album for any reason, but I can not find it now. Maybe I’ll ask St. Anthony tonight to send me a clue of where to look, other than telling me I need to clean more!
Feb. 9, 2017: I called mama before lunch… and no answer, which tells me she probably went to the center with her “found” car keys. Later I called about 3:30 and just as I was about to hang up, she answered out of breath… “I crawled over to get the phone as I’m sitting on the floor sewing the bottom of this curtain going into the living room.” Why? “I’m sewing these jingle bells on the bottom, so when Boo walks through, I hear the jingling noise.” My husband just shook his head, thinking another noise for us to hear when we sleep in the living room and Boo walks in. “It’s just something to do, I saw them laying on the bureau and thought I’d sew them back on. The reason it took so long to get over to the phone was because I couldn’t get up that fast, so I just crawled over to grab the phone… I knew it was you.” I told her to take the phone back with her…. “No one will call, you’ve called now.” (We had a blizzard today, about 14 inches)
Feb. 14, 2017: Called mama to wish her Happy Valentines Day… “everyday is the same, guess I missed the party at the center as I can’t find my car keys this morning. They are in the house… somewhere!”
Feb. 15, 2017: I don’t remember how the subject turned to pickles, guess it was when I told her about all the uses of a cucumber that I was reading about on Facebook, so she said… “My mama grew lots of cucumbers in the garden, but we didn’t eat them as I only remember her making pickles. She always had lots of canned pickles in the corner cabinetm and pickles were a staple on the table. I remember her eating them, maybe my brother, but my father and I didn’t really eat them. Even today I don’t really eat them, unless it’s maybe on a sandwich, I’d rather just drink the pickle juice. I always ate quickly so I could sidle on out of the kitchen so I didn’t have to wash dishes. I’d rather be out in the front swing reading a True Romance magazine. Mama liked to do them herself anyway, sometimes my brother, Leroy hung in the kitchen and helped her; he was mama’s pet, while I was daddy’s girl; it was always that way!”
“I did go to the center today and ate a little. They offered Ensure drinks with lunch, so I made sure to grab a couple. I’d rather drink one of them then eat what they offer for lunch.”
Feb. 17, 2017: Mama was dozing when I called… “I can sleep anytime, it doesn’t matter what time it is to me. I went out to Walmart today looking for maybe another remote, but this one works now. Also went to the center this morning and hung out for awhile. I’m sure I picked at the food, but most of it came home to the cat… they never complain.” I asked mama about music… “I didn’t pay much attention to music when I was young until I started dancing the jitterbug, then I liked the songs that you danced to.” Who taught you the jitterbug, I asked. “Willie Mae and I used to hang in the kitchen at the City Hotel and the girls back there taught us how to dance, they were all good dancers. This wasn’t a dancing song, but I just remember a song called the Hut Sut, did you ever hear it? It went like… Hut-Sut Rawson on the rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit.” While I remembered hearing mama say it, I didn’t know the words until I looked it up. It came out in 1941 and was sung by Elsie Carsisle… it was popular in the 40’s as a novelty song – originally a Swedish serenade song. Then I mentioned the other novelty song Mairzy Doats… “yeah I remember that, and little lambs eat ivy – it said at the end; it was another popular song we sang.”
Mama then turned music into remembering her father… “Often when daddy plowed, he picked me up and plopped me on the mule’s back. I’d ride up and down the rows as he stood behind the plow, yelling “gee, haw, you son of a bitch.”
“My grandfather Lawson McKinley had a radio, and as far as I can remember he was the only one at that time when I was young. We often went over there on Saturday nights, but it was never turned on until all the older folks were going to be in the room. They would listen to the Grand Ol’ Opry with Minnie Pearl. The only other time it was turned on was when the president spoke. If the president was speaking on a Saturday afternoon, then all the men went to the filling station in town and listened together… it was only the men who listened. I remember hearing President Talmadge speak. Finally later daddy got a radio, I think Aunt Lena or Aunt Emma bought it for him.”
I mentioned to mama that I wish I could get her a computer robot to greet her at the door everyday and say… “welcome home Helen, let me have your keys and purse. How was your day? ” She laughed, and … “Oh I’d love that, please find me one, and be sure and get one that does dishes because I always have a sink full… at all times. Imagine I used to keep such an immaculate clean house, but now I’m just not interested in housework, I’d rather watch a good movie. When it gets done, it gets done!” Well that gives me something to look for, they have the Echo and Google assistant, but do they do dishes? LOL… I’ll have to check and see what they do!
Feb. 19, 2017: After talking awhile, somehow the conversation turned to cremation… “I remember my daddy saying if you ever want to put some flowers on his grave to just put bitter weed there; they have small yellow blooms. Daddy was always pulling them up if he found them growing in the field because if the cows ate them, it gave their milk a bitter taste. We chewed on some weed at school that had a bitter taste, but we mostly chewed on sweet gum branches. I remember mama dipping a sweet gum branch in her snuff and then chewing on the branch. She dipped snuff, but I never saw her spit like your grandmother Bryan did… she walked around carrying a spit can; that was so nasty!”
“I went to the center today and Caroline brought me eggs from her chickens. I scrambled one tonight, the yellow is a much deeper yellow than the ones you buy in the store, that’s because they are fresh. I’ll keep them on the counter for a few days then put them in the fridge.”
And then we were back to cremation… “Make sure you sprinkle some of my ashes on Monica’s grave as well as my brother Leroy and mama and daddy; just sprinkle me around with everyone.”
Feb. 28, 2017: First thing mama told me tonight was that she thought Boo was getting sick. “Boo just hasn’t seen like himself the past couple of days, he’s been acting mopish, not himself and just being quiet.”
In talking about her upcoming Dr. appointment, I told her I’m buying her a new address book and calendar and tying a string on them… so they don’t walk away from her.
I told mama I’ll make breakfast pizza for her when we come, and… “it doesn’t matter to me what I eat, I can eat a donut any time of the day and be happy.”
March 1, 2017: I asked about Boo when I called… “I took him to the vet today, they gave him some fluids and an antibiotic shot – hopefully he’ll start feeling better. It’s so difficult for me taking him, I have a really hard time trying to get him into the carrier and then carrying him to the car.”
March 2, 2017: I called mama from work tonight… “Boo was laying with me on the bed until the phone rang, he just got up and went in the living room. Why are you still at work, it’s 6 o’clock at night; no one would tell me I had to stay that late. If people haven’t gotten their groceries by this time at night, then they don’t really need them. Boo seems to be feeling a little better, he ate some food this morning.”
Mar. 3, 2017: As I called mama tonight, she said hello, she yelled out… “Boo stop, let go of my hand. He grabbed my finger hard as I grabbed the phone. You can see that he is feeling better today. He got up this morning and ate some food and he’s back to wanting to be with me and laying up close, but every time I move my hand, he attacks me.”
“I made my rounds this morning and stopped at Hardee’s with all my “free” coupons to buy sandwiches to take to the center. I told the young guy that I was taking the extra’s to the senior center and I think he added a few extra in the bag. When I got there, I took one and went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. I left the bag for anyone else there to have a sandwich. Whenever I get a few of those free coupons they mail, I like to take the extra’s down to the center… but no one else ever does that.”
I was talking about how the kids are in school and …. “ When I was in school in Siloam, the kids were bad, and the boys were really bad. One time the boys climbed up on the roof and poured sand down the chimney, which put out the fire in the big cast iron pot belly stove. If I could have climbed up there, I bet I’d have been right there with them. Another thing they did was punch a hole in the wall of the boys bathroom so they could peek into the girls. The reason the boys were so bad is because most of the men were in the Army, it was during WWII. There was no men home to keep them in line, they got out of control with only the women in the household trying to keep order. I’ll never forget this one boy who liked to jump up on his desk and “hump” like a dog. (she’s laughing) There was also this one bad girl who would go off with some of the boys at lunchtime and who knows what they were doing, and she was the preacher’s daughter.”
“I had my share of being sent to the principal’s office. One day, after returning back to my class, I was sent back to the office because Kendrick said something to me when I walked back in, and I hit him on the head with my books. I didn’t go to the office, but to the library instead. I grew up with Kendrick, we were more like siblings. My father rented a house on their land; his father was the local doctor, who also delivered me.
March 4, 2017: While talking to mama tonight I was watching a video on Facebook of a cat drinking water from the spigot, and…. “my boss Clara used to say her cat could flush the toilet, but I never believed it. She tended to tell lies and talk about people. I’m sure she talked about me when I wasn’t around. She often talked about her clients after they left the shop, so I’m sure she talked about me as well. Boo is smart, he drinks water from the spigot, but I turn it on; that’s the only way he will drink water.”
March 5, 2017: I asked about Boo when I called tonight. “Boo seemed to be feeling good yesterday, but he’s back to feeling bad tonight. I guess I’ll have to call the vet Monday morning and take him in, I dread that as he’s like fighting a tiger to get him in the carrier and it’s hard to carry him to the car. Maybe he will feel better tomorrow, he seems to be a little perky in the mornings, going in and eating a little, but then in the evening he wants to go hide.”
March 7, 2017: Mama had an appointment with Dr. Ootz this morning, as I tried calling her but she had left the house. Tried calling her several times later and the phone never rang, going straight to voicemail. Finally got her around 10 tonight. “I didn’t know anything was wrong with my phone, it was hung up. I left earlier to go out to the Dr. office and they took me as soon as I walked in…. And there was a room full of people waiting. He said I looked good and keep doing what I’m doing.”
When I told mama I made a blackberry cobbler last night…. “Oh don’t tell me that, I’d sure like a piece right now with my coffee. I sure wish I could have one like my mama made. She made up a biscuit dough, then rolled it out really thin. She laid it in the pan and cooked it till it was brown. While that baked, she cooked her berries a little bit on the stove, then she poured the berries and juice on top of the baked crust, and rolled out a top crust. She put a few pats of butter on top and baked it. We used to pick the berries on the side of the road, just near the driveway; there was lots of them there, but the best ones were the ones we picked in the back field where it was marshy. Those were the big juicy berries. There were also snakes back there, we had to take Frank or Brownie with us; they’d kill a snake in a minute. The dogs would go in the bushes first, then when they came out, we could go in. They were smart dogs, always knowing what to do when they went with us. The bushes were back by that big rock I liked to sit up on…. my rock! There was another rock back there that looked like a fireplace had been carved in on one side. It even looked like it had been used; this was Indian land, so it may well have been used like that many, many, years ago. Daddy used to find a lot of arrowheads when he farmed, he’d empty them out of his pockets at night; at one time you had a lot of them.”
“I stopped at the center on my way home today, and they had soup for lunch… I like their soup. They even put some in a container for me; you can buy it if they have leftovers, and I always do.”
March 8, 2017: Mama called me tonight while we were watching Blue Bloods….. “I got another letter I want to read you, that car dealership over in Madison sent me a card that they want to buy my car, that I didn’t have to buy one…. I just want to know what they want in my car.” No matter how I tried to tell her that it’s a scam letter trying to encourage her to buy another car, we went ‘round in circles…
When I told mama I made another blackberry cobbler tonight…. “dam you, I wish I had a piece, but I want it like my mama made. I had a seedless blackberry bush in the backyard for years, but it finally died out.”
I told mama I bought Ella knitting needles for her 7th birthday…. “I knitted when I was young, but I had to make my own knitting needles, daddy wasn’t going to buy me needles. We knitted squares that someone sewed together for the boys in the war. I also crocheted and embroidered, I really enjoyed the embroidery.”
“I want to plant some flower seeds soon, I think I’ll get some of those big sunflower seeds. It should be almost time for planting. I planted some corn seeds last year, but they never came up. I’m going to plant the sunflowers over in the patch between me and the neighbor.”
“I wish I had something to have with my coffee tonight, but I’ve been so lazy that I never went to the store. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow, but I just hate going grocery shopping. I had Brunswick stew tonight.”
I told mama that McKinley and Grace were here today as Melissa went to NY for a Woman’s Day store meeting. When I mentioned to McKinley that we had Ella’s birthday party this weekend, and that we would probably have pizza at the bowling alley… well McKinley was quiet for a moment, then said, “I think I’ll have mama pack me a lunch.” Mama laughed…. “boy she’s just like me, a picky eater; I wouldn’t eat that pizza either.”
March 11, 2017: When I called tonight… “I just put Boo on the porch and he’s checking out the cat carrier I left out there. He walked all around it… looking at it sideways. He usually knows when I have it on my mind that I’m taking him to the vet… he’ll get quiet and lay under the table. I just happened to leave it out there, so now he’ll probably think he’s going to the vet, haha.”
“I’m very good at laying in the bed watching TV… I could win a prize for it! Sometimes I feel like I want to go out and dig in the dirt, in my flowers, but not as much as I used to.”
“Here comes Boo, he stopped to crunch on some food for a snack, now he’s up here laying with me again… until he decides he wants another snack.”
To be continued…
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