Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #41
March 18, 2017: I called after we returned from Steve’s tonight. We went over so I could show Ella how her new knitting needles worked. I think it will take some time for her to learn how to handle the needles and feel comfortable… maybe she’s too young at age 7. I bought an extra set of needles and Rose (daughter in law) seemed interested, so I showed her the knit stitch. She began knitting that night and continued the next morning. My son said she couldn’t wait to get home from the bridal shower to practice knitting. “I taught myself how to knit, there was no one to teach me and I even made my own knitting needles. I knitted squares for the soldiers and someone at school sewed them together. I had wanted to be part of that project, so I taught myself.”
March 21, 2017: When I called… “It’s going to thunder tonight, we are under a storm watch. It was pretty here today so I went to the center, then I worked out in the yard for a bit. I have to buy some flower seeds like petunias for my flower boxes. Boo is under the bed, it just boomed and he ran for cover.”
While we talked, mama skimmed through the TV channels…. “Girls are on TV doing gymnastics and swinging on the bars. Now that’s something I would like to have done when I was young. I swung in the trees a lot, it’s a wonder I never busted my head! I did relay races and high jumping at school. I could outrun every boy! Wish I had a time machine… I have a lot of things I’d like to go back and change.”
I told mama I paid off my last mortgage payment today… “so you now own it! I own this house and I hope to live here until I don’t live anymore. I grew up without even having a bathroom in our house. A tin tub was my bathtub. Sometimes I took my bath after dark out in the yard, the water would have gotten nice and warm.”
March 24, 2017: I called around 9:30 p.m. tonight, and… “I just came in about an hour ago, I was out there fooling around with my window box at my bedroom window. I’m going to buy some flower seeds for it and throw the rest by the road. I raked a lot of leaves out there to throw over in the flower beds, then I cleaned up the dirt by the edge and threw it back in the gardens.”
“I went to the center today and came home with a nice pair of blue jeans… they fit me just perfect. I wore them home from the center as I had spilled water on my pants, so I went to the clothes closet and spotted them. I changed and left my pants there…. LOL!”
March 26, 2017: I asked if she had dinner yet when I called tonight…. “I had an Ensure, wasn’t really hungry, but I’d sure like a Thanksgiving dinner with some cranberry sauce,” I told her she’d better get in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans… she laughed! “I’m all over that! It was a little cold today… I had no desire to even go outside. I’d prefer to just lay in the bed today and watch TV. I did enough out in the yard yesterday!”
March 28, 2017: When I called tonight I told Mama that I played her today and laid on the couch and watched TV all day. “Well that’s OK, it’s called “spring fever” – and then you get over it and get energized! I piddled around for awhile in the yard, but there’s nothing in the house that interests me to do!”
March 30, 2017: I got a little surprise tonight when I called…. “I thought I’d sit outside this afternoon as it was so nice and pretty, but when I sat in one of those old web chairs, well it gave way and I pulled a “Stephen” thing… remember when he fell through one…. and ended up sitting on the pavement. I couldn’t get up no matter what I tried. I sat there for a little bit hoping the neighbor would come out of their house… I could hear the TV on. After waiting long enough, I began yelling loud and getting madder every minute that no one was hearing me. Finally, an older couple driving by stopped about the time the man across the street ran across to help. He had a big grin on his face when he rounded the corner and found me sitting in the driveway… inside the chair. It was one of those moments when you laugh at the same time, but well not laughing. I don’t know why I thought about sitting out there, and I should have known better and remembered how it had happened to Stephen.” Boy, what I wouldn’t give for a photo!
March 31, 2017: First thing I said was… just called to make sure you didn’t go sit outside in any more chairs today… she laughed. “No, I don’t think I’ll try sitting outside in those chairs again.” The first thing I’m going to do when I come down is get rid of those chairs, they’re going bye-bye. “No don’t throw them out, I might do something with the pieces or put the chair in my garden and plant flowers inside.” Well, it better be done before I get there or out to the curb they will go… what would you have done if no one stopped? “I guess I would have slept there or maybe when it got dark and quiet someone would finally hear me yelling, I can yell pretty loud!”
April 2, 2017: When I called…. “Boo is just being lazy with me, all snuggled up in my arms. I was just cutting my hair earlier, it was getting too long and I don’t like it touching the back of my neck; I’m funny about that now. I need another hand mirror, can’t find mine so I just sat in bed with no mirror and whacked it off; then I went to the bathroom to see. I did a pretty good job! Remind me when you come to buy another mirror or maybe you can buy me one of those mirrors that hang around your neck.”
April 3, 2017: I called mama about all the bad weather I’ve been hearing about in Georgia, and… “I didn’t hear anything today, it must have sailed right over my house. If there was bad weather, Boo would have told me as he flies under the bed. I don’t think anything happened around here today, guess it missed my house.”
“I just had a piece of the best cake, your package came this afternoon and I couldn’t wait to rip open that box, I knew something good was inside. I’ve had two pieces already and might have a third before I go to sleep tonight. Who needs dinner, I have cake.” Your son-in-law made that banana chocolate chip cake, so you know it’s good!
I mentioned basketball, and… “Mr. Burke would say Helen is gonna play where she wants to play, not where you tell her. I was the guard, but I always wanted to be the shooter, and if I got a shot to shoot, I took it… no matter what was said to me. Mr. Burke did everything at school, he was the principal, basketball coach and anything else needed; I was his pet.”
April 5, 2017: I called several times today as Georgia was under severe weather with tornadoes all over the state. Every time she’d tell me I’m not really seeing anything. “I’m just keeping myself home today and minding my business… it will pass. I remember having bad storms and tornado’s when we lived in that log cabin…. we were poor folks. The rain beat so hard on those cheap glass windows, and they rattled so bad that daddy had to stick rolled up paper between the frames to keep them quiet. There were bad storms when I was small.”
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 I didn’t have to pay anything. I wouldn’t have done anything with them if I brought them home, so why would I. Maybe I’ll 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 dirt.”
April 7, 2017: Mama was talkative when I called tonight…. “I got up this morning and went to the center… it was warm and pretty outside. When I came home I worked in the yard for awhile planting the seeds I bought the other day. I planted them in buckets and later I’ll transplant them to my window boxes.”
“My azaleas haven’t bloomed yet, they’ve gotten older, so they don’t bloom like they used to… maybe they’ll bloom while you are here. I think I’ll go buy some more seeds tomorrow, maybe I’ll even buy some watermelon seeds… I love watermelon. I can plant them maybe in the ditch on the other side of the house.”
“I don’t mind working out in the yard, but I sure do mind working in this house… you know you’ll find a sink of dishes when you come.”
I mentioned how I hate to go to work tomorrow… and “so call out sick, it wouldn’t bother me to call out sick. I’d just call the boss and say I’ve been on the ‘mode all night and I can’t come in.” She laughed! “It’s only a little white lie, I don’t think God would mind. He only minds about the big lies.”
After me yawning and then mama, she told me good night, “go to bed – you have to go to work tomorrow!”
April 10, 2017: When I called she was talking about hearing on Tv that a local man killed his wife. Laughing she said, “I’ve never wanted to kill anybody, but I’d like to hurt a few.. maybe next time they’d think about not messing with me.”
“I went to the center today, nothing going on. Food must not have been any good as I don’t even remember what they served. I only give them a dollar, they want two, but don’t think it’s worth even the dollar.”
“Y’all need to move South, so you don’t have to contend with that snow. just move on down here, I’ll give you the house, you can build a room on for me.”
“Mama made lye soap to wash our clothes with, that’s how they got the clothes white, but daddy washed me with it one time after I rolled around in the poison ivy all afternoon. I guess it worked, as I didn’t get any poison ivy.
April 11, 207: “It’s like summer here, I worked out in the yard and now I”m tired. My hands are so pretty. I hope some of the seeds come up I planted by the mailbox, it needs to rain now to knock them down to the ground. I went to the center, found a nice pair of pants I brought home, but now I don’t know where I laid them, hell they might be laying outside. I’ll find them in the morning if I think about it.
Mama asked if I was retiring sometime this summer I told her it should be soon. (June 2nd is my last day). “Then you and Steve will be footloose and fancy-free. LOL”
April 12, 2017: “Daddy grew a big watermelon patch up by the road, he grew them mainly to feed the pigs, but Leroy and I would bust one open almost every day and eat what we wanted and then throw the rest over to the hogs. Sometimes people would steal one since they were by the road, the young kids liked to steal them. The big ones he brought in the house for us to eat.
April 14, 2017: I mentioned Hollyhocks, … “I used to have so many in my yard, but they just went away, I’ll have to get some more seeds, why you want some?”
“I’m watching Anne of GreeneGables, I’m surprised you never read the book, I read it as a child. Its really a good movie, and was a good book, she reminds me of Melissa.
“I’m out of Ensure, but I was too lazy to get dressed to go to the store… so I did without,” I told her well the mailman should be lugging a 24 pk to the door tomorrow. “Oh goody!”
April 16, 2017: I called Mama to wish her Happy Easter, and she then wished me a Happy Birthday. After dinner, I called her back to tell her about the bug boxes I had put in the girls Easter baskets. Just a cheap dollar store bug box had McKinley pulling Uncle Steve around to pick up rocks in hopes of finding a bug underneath. Steve, Rose and the girls had come over for the Easter Egg Hunt after dinner and it quickly got noisy with five girls hunting for eggs. While I was talking mama said, “ I’d like to have a glass of wine right now. She laughs and continues… There was one time I was feeling no pain. I don’t know how we happened to be out on the bridge, but I walked on the bridge railing – we all were feeling no pain.”
“I remember whenever mama would hear on TV about going to the moon, she would say… “no one can go to the moon.” This was after her mind went.”
When I told mama I cleaned out my cookbooks in the dining room… “you can bring some to Carolyn when you come, she likes to collect cookbooks. Well, only four more Mondays before Trump takes office. Is he going to build that wall? I’ll go help him if he will come get me.”
“Did I ever tell you that I built an outside fireplace from old bricks I found that someone had thrown out; it even had a chimney. I tried to cook on it, but I didn’t have enough wood to make a good fire. They laughed at me and told me the smoke would go up the chimney, but it didn’t.”
I told mama later that we had eaten ham at Melissa’s today and she had made mac & cheese for McKinley and Grace…. Immediately McKinley said, “that’s not my regular mac & cheese.” After a few moans and groans, she finally took a bite, then said… “this is yummy!” Go Figure!
April 18, 2017: When I called tonight, I told mama that I dropped off my union pension papers, so I guess I’ll be retiring… “What a pretty day it was here today. I went to the center this morning then went looking for tomato plants… and I found nothing. Someone must have bought them all up. Maybe I can find some out at Walmart this weekend, also still want to get some watermelon seeds. I just want to see what they will do, daddy planted them about now and they grew way into the summer; they grow in the heat. He picked them after the stems began drying up, then they were nice and big and ready to be picked. After I came home, I piddled around in the yard and when I got tired, I came in and laid down. I know I need to go to the kitchen and do a little cleaning, but I just don’t want to. When I hang up, I’m going to figure out an outfit to wear for tomorrow. I’ll go down to the center in the morning and piddle around there for awhile.”
From last April 2016 in GA. As we rode down Slip Rock Road with mama… “I used to walk many a time on this road. I also rode in the wagon with daddy… he’d get so mad when the horse, Pat wanted to go on home. He’d run so fast that he would run off down in the ditch; it made daddy so mad, he’d cuss up a storm. No running of water on either side of the road anymore now that Slip Rock has dried up; it’s just the rocks down there now – no water. I used to like to walk barefoot through the water headed down to the rocks.”
April 20, 2017: “It tried to rain, but it went away… it’s dry as a bone here. It sounded like it was going to do something because Boo ran and hid when he heard rumbling.”
I told mama we went to McKinley’s dance recital today at The Shubert Theater; this was her first year at The New Haven Ballet School… “I was in a play at school, there was three girls, me and Kendrick. My line was “I do believe I’m getting a pimple on my chin”… I said it all prissy and then stuck my tongue out at Kendrick. The audience howled with laughter and I was the center of attention; I have no clue how I happened to be in that play.”
“Leroy was in a play also one time, he played a soldier. He marched on stage with other boys and they were supposed to march on and then march off, but Leroy just kept marching long after the other boys marched off. Someone had to go onstage to get him off. I wasn’t there, but I remember my mother telling me.”
April 21, 2017: Mama answered… “I am so danged tired tonight… I worked in the yard moving my lilies around and weeding. I gave a lot of bulbs to the girl across the street. “Save me some,” I said. ” I’ll give you one of every color I have and you can do a grouping at home with them. When they bloom they will look variegated.”
I told mama we stopped over Steve’s before leaving. Ella showed me her drawing of Dr. Seus she drew at school… and she did an awesome job! “I picked up a couple of drawing books down at the center the other day on how to draw different things, I’ll save them for Ella. I did a lot of drawing as a kid, I drew houses and trees and I drew a woman. I’ll have to practice and show you.”
“I bet I sleep all night and into late, late Saturday morning. I am so tired of digging in the dirt – my hands are a mess!”
April 22, 2017: We left Ct. about 4:10 a.m…. we made good time hitting Maryland around 10 – finally stopping near Charlotte, N.C. about 5 p.m. I swear I thought we circled back through Virginia on a couple of loops… it seemed to be extra long today.
April 23, 2017: We arrived at in Georgia after lunch today… the rain followed us all the way from Virginia. In nearing mama’s, the sun finally showed itself, but as fast it came out, it went right back in. As we were bringing our “stuff” in, mama said… “I think you’ve brought everything but the kitchen sink!” I laughed, “you know we don’t travel lightly. I can’t go anywhere without my laptop, camera, scanner, and notebooks to write in.”
April 25, 2017: Mama passed by my chair as I was writing… “If you die before me, I’ll make sure you have pen and paper in your casket.”
April 28, 2017: Mama sat on the couch looking out the screen door and… “I sure do dread cleaning out that flower garden where the big Angel Trumpets are.” I said, “it’ll give you something to do.” “Well I’m afraid there might be snakes over in there, so I don’t like sticking my hands in. The men who cut the timber down on the farm told me that they always take their big saws and lay on the ground running… the vibration from the saws send the snakes slithering off; they always do that before cutting.”
While watching Family Feud with Steve Harvey, mama said… “Let’s go to Atlanta and get on his show and win a car. We’ll take Melissa and Frank, and I’ll show off, being myself. I like him on that show, he’s funny.”
April 29, 2017: While watching a Food Network show tonight… “I’d sure like a slice of that watermelon with salt sprinkled on, but not that slice they put on the grill… all you’re going to end up with is a slice of pulp. You need to come back down when the watermelons and peaches are in season… and stay longer.”
“One time I skipped school with my friend Doris… we went down to the railroad tracks and spent the day smoking. Many times, my girlfriend’s boyfriend, picked me up on just outside of school on his motorcycle. He’d wait around the corner for me to get off the bus and sneak away. I’d go spend the day with Willie Mae… she had skipped too. When the truant officer came to tell daddy, he ran him off telling him he would take care of the situation… and he did. My backside got blistered. That was the end of me skipping school.”
After returning from Greensboro picking up our BBQ and stew to bring home, mama said, “I’m exhausted and tired.” She sat down on the couch with a Boost drink, then before I knew it, she got up… “I think I’ll go piddle around in the garden for awhile.” Maybe those Boost drinks she consumes daily really give her energy!
May 10, 2017: I was just going to hang up after 8 rings when mama finally answered. “I was talking to Carolyn and just hung up… doesn’t it tell you I’m on the other line? I only came in the house a little while ago, had been out pulling weeds and pruning until I heard a snake slithering in the bushes where I was working. I got up and came in the house! Mr. Snake better move on tonight and be gone tomorrow.”
“Boo is all stretched out across the bottom of the bed – he can almost reach the opposite side when he stretches out from head to toe. He’s got the Life of Reilly and doesn’t even know it.”
“Nothing good to eat today at the center, but they only can cook what the government gives them… and what they give them isn’t worth much lately. I don’t even remember what it was, so it wasn’t anything I was interested in or I’d have remembered.”
“I cut back all those country pink roses out front and dragged the cuttings to the road; they were trying to run away I guess. Maybe I should let them cover my house and just leave me an opening to come in and out.”
May 12, 2017: Mama called tonight to tell me about the rain coming. “It was really hot today… after I got too hot working in the yard, I finally came in the house. My tomato plants sure do need some water. I should go back out and water them, but I’m too lazy. Years ago the plants on our farm didn’t get water unless it rained. We had no hoses back then for watering, and probably didn’t even know what a hose was. If you needed water, you had better pray for it. It was God who decided if your crops survived or not.”
“I don’t know where Boo is right this minute. Boo and I get along just right, If I yell loud enough, he takes off. I don’t want no husband – it’s just me and Boo!”
“I brush my hair every night, it’s good for your scalp. I’ve always loved my hair brushed. If you put cotton balls down in your brush it will pull the oil out of your hair as you brush. I don’t wash my hair as often as you do.”
May 14, 2017: I called to wish mother Happy Mother’s Day and tell her that I had sent a case of Ensure… and “I forgot all about what day it was, I’m just lounging around today in bed. It’s chilly out so I’m not working outside either. I’ll find something on TV to watch.”
To be continued…
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