2017 – A to Z… O: 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.
O… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
O is for Oak and Ola Lily
“I’ll never forget the one night your father drove over to the farm after having had a little too much to drink. Upon pulling into the yard, he went really fast, around and around the big oak tree in the yard, before flying back out the driveway and up the road. After turning around he came back into the yard and found my father standing in the yard with his shotgun pointed. He told Clayton “boy you better not ever do that again, I was ready to shoot the fool that had just come flying in my yard.” “I had told him not to do that, but he wouldn’t listen because he’d been drinking. He never forgot… and didn’t dare try it again. You didn’t play around like that in those days – people would shoot first and ask questions later, especially my father..”
“Do you remember the jar of pennies I kept in the top drawer of the old oak bureau sideboard you have; it sat in the dining room in our house in Perry. One day when I looked in the drawer, it was empty – not a penny left. When I asked you what happened to them, you told me you used them to buy ice cream from the ice cream man. That bureau I used as a sideboard was a piece that had been in my parent’s house from the time I was a little girl. It sat in the backroom behind the dining room – it originally had a mirror attached, but it needed to be redone, so I took it off when I brought it to my house; it belonged to either my mother or father’s parents.”
“In looking at the oak spool cabinet in my living room she said… “ I had forgotten about that cabinet. It came from Mr. Johnny Jackson’s general store in Siloam when he closed… I had mentioned I liked it and he told me to take it. It originally was a cabinet that thread came in; I believe the name of Coats & Clark thread was written on it, but can’t remember exactly if it was on the front or inside the drawers. I was very proud when I managed to erase the writing from it! It’d be worth more now if I had left the name on.”
On our way back to mama’s house, we went through White Plains and… “see that old house burned over there, that was the Lewis house… that’s where the oak table and chairs that daddy bought for me came from. It was sitting out in their front yard and he bought it for probably a few bucks. He brought it home and stripped off all the paint; it was painted several colors, but he cleaned it all up. I used it for many years until I moved back to the farm and then you married and wanted it.” (I have used this table and chairs for forty-plus years.)
“Did you get the box of bulbs I sent? I sent you Iris’s – one of every color I have in my yard. They are yellow, white, purple, blue and I think one more color. I also sent Ola Lily and Elephant Ear bulbs for Melissa and some Amaryllis for whoever wants them. I started to send you some buttercups (Daffodils) but didn’t know if you wanted any. You can always bring home some bulbs in October if you come. Mine have already bloomed and died so they won’t bloom again until next Spring. Did you know that you have to thin out Iris’s when they multiply in one area, or they won’t bloom so much?”
“I’ve always planted flowers wherever we lived – and I’ve always had Ola Lilies at every house we lived at. I had them in the yard in Union Point, and by the back door on Smoak Ave., I had a really big one there and they are all around my house now.”
In asking Mama about the flowers Grandmamma had at the farm, she said; “Mama never planted flowers in her yard – she didn’t really have time. I planted a few flowers – actually what flowers grew there came from me planting them. I don’t remember where we got the Ola Lilies from, but they were found around all the old farmhouses in Siloam. You can still see them all over Siloam, even today. My mother worked too hard outside in the field and the vegetable garden to have time for flowers. But I do remember her having a ‘thing’ for water – every bucket we had on the back porch had to be kept full – all the time. And if I didn’t, she’d do it. I don’t know how she did all she did throughout her life – she cooked all the meals, worked in the field, took care of the vegetable garden, scrubbed the clothes on a washboard, ironed all our clothes with an iron heated on her wood kitchen stove (I have the irons), canned the vegetables she grew, and made many pies of blackberry and peach; her blackberry pie was always my favorite. We had good eating in our house – my Mama was a good cook.”
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!
© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved