Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #46

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #46


Me on the far right… with friends Karen and Pat Sisson (All dressed in our Easter outfits – abt. 1957)

Jan. 1, 2018: I called to say “Happy New Year” and tell mama how the girls were enjoying an early New Years celebration at a friends house tonight; the parents had made a lighted ball and dropped it at 8 p.m. by the bonfire outside. I watched the video… all the kids were so excited and then after it dropped you heard one voice… “do it again.” LOL, I think it was McKinley!

Mama said… “On the farm, there was a tree that grew up between the rocks… it was my climbing tree. Daddy would be out in the field plowing and he’d look over and see me hanging by my heels… and say “you’re going to bust your head”… then he’d go right back on plowing.”

“It’s pretty here today, the sun’s out… you can walk out in only a short sleeve shirt to go get the mail if you wanted. I went out to crank the car and it cranked right up. I hadn’t cranked it in over a week.”

Jan. 2, 2018: Mama called me tonight after hearing about our cold weather. If she went out of the house, she’d know that GA was pretty cold also! “I’ve just been watching old movies all day today.”

Jan. 9, 2018: When I called mama… “Johnny and Carolyn went and bought cat food for Boo today, he’s been eating up a storm lately and I didn’t realize it was that empty. I was going to the center today, but the car wouldn’t crank. Johnny will come back another day to fix the car… they were in a rush today.”

Jan. 14, 2018: When I called tonight, mama said… “I’m laying here brushing my hair. I love it brushed over and over. I used to try and get you to brush it, but I was really afraid to let you… afraid you’d whop me in the head like you did with grandpa one day. You hit him hard! You never wanted to brush my hair, and you wouldn’t even let me brush yours… you didn’t like anyone to brush it. I stayed home in bed today, I’ve seen it all at the center, I’m not interested in seeing anything or anyone anymore.”

Jan. 16, 2018: I asked mama if she went out today when I called… “It’s cold as hell out there! I don’t like this cold weather! I didn’t go to the center and neither did Carolyn, and I’m not going tomorrow either!”

When I told mama that Steve and I have been watching the old soap Dark Shadows again… “yea I used to watch that years ago, wasn’t much to choose from back then, so I watched it probably with you.

Mama enjoyed hearing about McKinley’s joke this morning, McKinley said, “where do cows like to go? To the Mooovies!” When we drop her off at school, we usually have time in the car and we tell jokes until she’ll say, “ok that’s enough.” Mama said, “I remember reading jokes on the chocolate milk cartons at the center, I’ll have to write them down next time I see them.”

McKinley later found two wooden cows in our house and asked me if she could have them, then she asked why they didn’t have the “milk part painted.” I said, “I guess I forgot to paint in the milk part.” She found her markers and began coloring the udder pink. They went home in her pocket!

January 17, 2018: I saw on Facebook it was snowing in Georgia, but when I called and asked… “It might have snowed, but I didn’t even bother to look out. Then the topic changed to coffee… “we had to buy our sugar and coffee… daddy always had to have his coffee! We also bought tea, but we only had sweet tea on Sundays. We were “uptown” on Sunday, but daddy still only drank coffee. We only bought the Luzianne brand of tea; there was a salesman who used to drive the truck and sold it to cousin Ulma for her general store in town. I dated him once, he took me to the fair in Greensboro. We often laughed and called him the “Luzianne Man.” Sometimes he’d even park his truck behind the store and sleep there.”

January 21, 2018: After seeing woodpecker holes on a tree at Melissa’s, I asked mama if they had them on the farm… “We used to have one that liked to peck on the house at the farm, but he finally left. When I was young, there was one that liked to peck around the chimney and he did a good job of keeping it clean. You’d hear him peck, peck, peck. He only pecked on the chimney in the back room, and often woke me up at night… then I’d lay there and listen to him.”

Jan. 25, 2018: While telling mama about the girls and how they played with their dolls today… “I liked to draw dolls as a little girl. I’d draw their clothes, color them and then cut them out. Daddy wasn’t going to buy me paper dolls in the stores.”

Jan. 30, 2018: In talking tonight… “I remember going to visit Aunt Lena (McKinley) with daddy… we’d go in the wagon. There weren’t roads like today, we drove up to Atlanta on dirt roads. I can still remember daddy pulling the wagon around back at her house and tying up the horse. Often we’d go and come back home on the same day… I don’t know how we did that.”

Feb. 4, 2018: As mama told me that her clock was off, she said… “Time all dogs are dead, aren’t you glad you’re a puppy.” She still cracks me up with the sayings that come out of her mouth for no specific reason!

Feb. 8, 2018: When I called tonight, it took her a long time to answer the phone. Finally, she answered… “I was dreaming… I was somewhere in Atlanta and trying to get to Aunt Lena’s house. I had gotten up this morning and dressed to go to the center, but then I saw it was raining and went back to bed… guess that’s when I started dreaming.”

Feb. 9, 2018: After telling mama I watched Anne of Green Gables tonight… “I used to read those books, June Boswell in town had them. Her family was pretty wealthy and they bought her all the books she wanted. I don’t know what her father did for a living, but they lived in town and had money. When I went to town on Saturday with mama and daddy, I’d walk over to play with her. She always let me borrow any of her books; I read her Nancy Drew’s also.”

“Boo’s out on the porch talking to some cat who’s come to visit.” I then asked her if she was still ok with moving to live with us. “Yes, but no one ever wants to leave their home. Boo’s not going to be happy—not the same walls or same windows to look out of.”

Feb. 12, 2018: I called mama around 11 a.m. this morning and seemed to have woken her up from a nightmare. “It was a terrible nightmare I was having when you called, I even woke up with my hands shaking. It’s a nightmare I never want to have again and I’m not going to tell you who was in it or what happened. Now my left wrist hurts, I can hardly move my wrist and bend my hand. Feels like someone took a sledgehammer to it.” She continued to talk about this nightmare, saying she had balled up her fist to hit someone… I can only surmise that it was someone from her past, as she said it wasn’t anyone living. She didn’t want to tell me so I’m thinking it was either my father or his mother and that’s why she won’t tell me and I’d rather not even know. I hope she doesn’t go back to sleep and dream it again.

Feb. 13, 2018: First thing mama said when I called was… “my wrist still hurts, I just don’t understand what I could have done.” My only thoughts are is that she hugs her pillows when she sleeps and maybe twisted the muscles; I woke up one day like that and it took a few days to settle out and go away.

Feb. 15, 2018: It took about three times of calling tonight before Mama answered the phone, and out of breath. “I was outside with the car guys… I had called the garage about my car and they were out there putting a new battery in. I’m worn out now.”

Feb 19, 2018: Mama called this afternoon… “It’s so dreary here, I didn’t go anywhere, me and Boo stayed in the bed all day. My hand still hurts, not as bad as it was though. If I just lay it here, I don’t feel anything, but when I try to close my fingers or bend my wrists, I don’t have the strength and it hurts; I still don’t remember hitting it anywhere.”

Feb. 26, 2018: For some reason, I mentioned the police and mama said… “I got locked up one time, only for a few minutes though. I wasn’t in Perry, think it was in Madison when I worked at the Holiday Inn. Sheriff Blackwood in Madison got me out. I don’t quite remember when, or for what, but I had probably had a few drinks before leaving work and one of his deputies took me in. I told them to call the Sheriff and he came right down and took me out… he knew me.”

“My hand is getting a little better I think. I can move my fingers now when it’s not hurting too much. I still can’t pick up anything though, but I’m resting it on the heating pad – that feels good.”

I asked about the fireplaces on the farm… “Daddy used to go in the woods for the lumber, he always chopped the wood himself. He was small and thin, but he was very strong. Maybe that’s why he often wore two pairs of overalls most of the time. I’m like the female version of him. I’m not really strong, but if I get really mad, I’m strong.”

March 12, 2018: When I called, I said, “It’s sure cold today,” and mama said, “yea and mites grow on trees. I don’t know why I even went to the center today. It wasn’t that cold when I left, but it sure was chilly when I came out of the center. I don’t know what possessed me to even go this morning! What they served, no one even wanted. We all stirred around our plates and threw them in the garbage… some kind of scrambled eggs. I should have stayed home… it’s just too cold out there, colder than when winter was!”

March 15, 2018: As soon as mama picked up, mama said, “it was warm today… when are you coming down? Boo’s happy out on the porch, smelling the other cats. That makes him happy!”

Mama mentioned my father, then said… “When I first met your daddy, he used to comb his hair all back… then, later on, he cut it in a crew cut. I like it combed back better.”

 March 19, 2018: I asked if she’d been to the mailbox today… “Well, I finally got my license today, and I look fairly well for an 88-year-old woman. I don’t even look like an old woman! Now I can drive, drive, drive! I don’t know any place I even want to go… maybe I’ll go to Perry and show off!” I told her, please don’t unless I’m there, I don’t want you lost!!! (The neighbor, who’s a driving instructor took her to get them)

March 23, 2018: While in Vermont for the weekend, I told mama about visiting a friend there and seeing his cabin. When I told her his wife won’t stay as she’s afraid of seeing a bear, mama said. “I don’t blame her, I don’t want to see one either. Boo ran away tonight when the phone rang. Whenever we used to ring the farm bell for the field hands to come in to eat, the hounds would howl… it hurt their ears. Y’all just a rambling wreck from GA. Tech.” Mama said that about us being in Vermont for the weekend.

April 2, 2018: As I told mama about McKinley and Grace hunting Easter eggs, she said… “They don’t know it, but these are the best days of their lives. I didn’t go to the center today, tried calling Carolyn, but no one was home.” When I asked if she was taking her pills… “My granddaddy lived to be almost a 100 years old and never took a pill in his life, that I knew of. I think all these pills are a crock! I can’t remember to take them half the time and I don’t want to. I don’t feel any different whether I take them or not. I think it’s really just a gimmick, to make the drug companies rich and kill the old folks by giving them to us.”

“I saw on the TV that you got some snow today. It snowed one time when I worked at Holiday Inn. The truck drivers made a path on I-20 and I followed them. They kept talking to me on the CB radio until I got home to the farm. I was always protected by them on the late night drive home. My handle was the 1 Angel, that’s how I got my nickname of Angel. They had some funny handle names too, but I can’t remember them now.”

When I told her I’ll bring a pound cake for her birthday when I come, she said… “I used to love to go to Aunt Annie’s (Askew) house in White Plains. She had a big strawberry patch and I’d stay out there until I ate them all; she must have hated to see me come. We used to go with senior citizens and pick them, but they don’t take us anymore. I’d go and just eat them… I didn’t want to bring any home!”


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About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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