2017 – A to Z… E: Conversations with Mama… The Best of!
I married and moved away from home when I was 19, so I didn’t grow up stopping by Mama’s for afternoon chats. Living almost a thousand miles from home, a nightly phone call is how I stayed in touch, as she’s gotten older, it’s how I check in on her. As I became involved in researching my family history, it was often how I heard the family stories. I recorded the usual dates and names, but all the tidbits of family stories…. well where was I going to put them. That was how Conversations with Mom evolved, and I eventually blogged those conversations. What better choice, than to glean an A to Z of my favorites here to celebrate Mama’s birthday month; she turns a spry 87 this April, but “mums” the word on me spilling her birthday number here!
During the month of April, I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for my 2nd year… both on this blog. I will post each day, except Sundays… using a daily alphabet letter in my theme of “Conversations with Mom… The Best of.” If you’d like to read more blogs, hop over to their Facebook page.
E… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
E is for Easter and Earth
“As to Easter, I remember you not wanting to dress up in the pretty dresses I always made you. The whole time you had the dress on, you pulled at it while throwing around the pocketbook I also made. You only wanted to wear your blue jeans and ride your stick horse! I loved to sew frilly dresses and pocketbook to match and you didn’t want any part of those girly things!”
I called Mama tonight to wish her a “Happy Birthday” (April 6, 2009) She began telling me how cold and windy it’s been today, then she said. “I guess we’ll be having a “blackberry winter.” I quickly said, what’s that? You never amaze me, but that’s a first.” “That is what the old folks always called a cold spell that’s coming around Easter time. It’s something to do with the first beginning of blackberry season I guess – all I know is I’ve always heard it.”
“You should see my front yard today, all the Easter Lilies in the front are all in bloom. I have all colors – they are white, purple and yellow. I even took some to my Dr.’s office today for Dr. Edwards and the girls; they like when I bring flowers.”
I called Mama to wish her a Happy Easter (April 20, 2014)… “Did you know that I was born on Easter? Maybe that’s why I like to dress up so much. Daddy always said that I would dress just to go to the outhouse!”
“I started school when we lived in the log cabin, where I was born. I remember walking down the road to meet the bus – usually, Kendrick Lewis was there waiting for me. He was a scrawny boy, and I often beat him up. I went to a big Easter egg hunt at his house one time, and found the Golden Egg prize – I ran all the way home with it… him running behind me – crying. Mama took it away from me and put it up; I wanted to play with it, but she wanted to save it, guess she thought it was pretty. It was a chicken glued on top of a box and inside were some little chickens on straw. She set it up somewhere in the parlor, never letting me touch it. I don’t know what happened to it, guess it just deteriorated.”
Mama was happy tonight when I called… “Just as I was leaving for the senior center at 9 this morning, Monroe Utilities stopped to fix my TV set. They didn’t even ask me about a digital box, they just took my remote, and within a couple of minutes…my TV was fixed. I missed the Easter Egg hunt because I was late probably a good thing as I heard some of them pushed some women for the eggs with the prizes in them. If they had pushed me, they would have ended up on the ground.”
Before I could even ask about the heat tonight…. “Don’t even ask me how hot it is, it’s just too damn hot. I believe God is tired of us all, and this world…. and he’s just burning up the earth. I remember it saying in the Bible that before the end of time, we will destroy ourselves. I don’t think I’ll even go to the senior center in the morning… It’s just too hot to sleep and by the time I fall asleep, it’s really late. It’s cooler in the mornings so I’ll just sleep in and stay home. Why go down there, as when I leave it feels hotter. If my big window fan hadn’t broken, it might be cooler in the house; although it would be only blowing hot air!”
And as the conversation turned to politics again, she said. “What we need is a president with an education and some damn common sense. What we only seem to have is just people with an education, and no common sense. I don’t know what this old world is coming to – it says in the Bible that the meek shall inherit the earth before time ends, and I believe something will happen. It also says in the Bible that we shall destroy ourselves and that is what it looks like more and more every day. My father was a true Democrat through and through – and he loved to talk politics – he was very opinionated. When he went to the filling station on Saturday to hang with the other men, that was usually one of the topics, unless it was fox hunting” (On this day, 8/8/2008, gas at Mama’s had come down to $3.69 a gallon)
In talking about kids playing by themselves mama remembered… “Aunt Liza’s son Harold Marchman liked to crawl under their house and build farms and fences out of matchsticks, string, and sticks. When I visited there, I loved to crawl under the house and watch him build in the fresh earth under there. It was fascinating to watch him work. It was something you’d call miniature art today – he had several farms with fences all around and it looked just a like a farm. Aunt Liza was my mother’s sister. She was funny when she got mad at her kids and yelled at them. She was a gossiper, she loved to sit on Aunt Chris’s porch, her sister, and they would all gossip, but deny it.”
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 told 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 nutcracker 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 get. 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.”
“During the 1970’s we had a lot of snow down here. I remember one night when I was back home on the farm, and working at Nathaniel Greene Restaurant in Greensboro, we had a few inches of snow. I had to ride in the car tracks of other cars to get home that night, but I couldn’t get down to the farm so this man with a big truck rode back and forth on the road to the farm, to pack it down and make tracks for me to get daddy out. I took him over to Willie Mae’s and he was so mad about leaving his house – he never liked leaving the farm. We stayed at Willie’s and he beat the floor with his cane all night long. I still believe he’s there on the farm – when people don’t really want to leave this earth, their souls don’t leave. I believe my mother left the earth and went searching for her son Leroy, but not my father – he’s still on the farm and his soul will always remain there – that is where he was happy and I was too.”
I mentioned strawberries, and…. “We use to go strawberry picking with the seniors somewhere, but they don’t do that anymore. I just went and ate what I wanted, and didn’t have to pay anything. I wouldn’t have done anything with them if I brought them home, so why would bring any home. I should get some plants and make a strawberry patch on the side of my house. I might just do that, that spot on the side has some rich earth where I’ve been throwing that dirt. Well if the mood strikes me and I remember it I might go buy some plants this weekend.”
Today is mama’s birthday (April 6, 2017), she turns 87… Happy Birthday, Mama!!!!
My mother grew up on a small farm in Georgia and has more memories of her childhood than I can only dream to remember. If you’d like to follow along from day 1, click on 2017: A to Z… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
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