Mother’s Day musings

Published 3:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mama died 21 years ago.

But it doesn’t seem like such a long time.

There’s not a day that goes by that she’s not in my thoughts. Sometimes, when I think of Mama, I get a lump in my throat and tears sting my eyes. But most of the time, my heart lightens and a smile crosses my face. Sometimes I laugh at the thought of her.

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It has been said that we don’t know our parents as people, only as parents. But I knew Mama as a person. She was a dirt road sport.

Mama was from Henry County. She came to Brundidge as a beautician but only long enough to catch Daddy. She met him on a blind date set up by Lamar Dickert. Mama said Daddy came to the door wearing a long, black coat with his hat pulled down over one eye. She thought he looked like a member of Al Capone’s gang. She married him, gave up her job as Miss S.E.’s beauty parlor and became the queen in Daddy’s castle.

I never really had a whole mama; she went all to pieces over every little thing. Mama was afraid of bad weather, water, bridges, spiders, gypsies, tramps, snorting bulls and the dark. She wouldn’t let dark catch her away from home.

“Well, we’re back on the same day we left,” she would say any time we went “off.” She had made sure we would be back that very same day.

Once we went to Louisiana to see Daddy’s Army Air Corps buddy. We had to cross the Huey P. Long Bridge to get there. Mama had a fainting spell and tried to get out of the car and walk across. Daddy wouldn’t stop and let her get out. When we started home, Mama said she could not go back across that bridge. We’d have to go another way. Daddy said, “Hell, Pauline, we’d have go to Canada to do that.” Mama said she’d always wanted to go to Canada. She didn’t get to go.

Mama never believed that a man walked on the moon. She said they put cameras out the desert and pretended the whole thing. However, she swore that, when she was a little girl, she saw a little, naked green man running through the pasture. I tried to convince her what she saw was a lizard of some kind.

“Don’t you think I know a naked green man when I see one?” she asked. I wasn’t sure.

Mama was very superstitious. She would turn around and go back if a black cat crossed her path. She wouldn’t walk under a ladder. She wouldn’t step on a crack in the sidewalk and she had to go out the same door she came in.

Mama loved Elvis. She bought a full sheet of stamps with his picture on them. She loved Marty Robbins because he had that little crying in his voice. She liked all the gospel quartets, especially the Happy Rhythm Boys and The Tadlocks. Lester Senn played the piano for them. Mama said he could mortly tear up a piano and he’d play himself right into heaven.

Mama was real particular about what she ate. She wouldn’t eat anything if she didn’t know who cooked it and some things she wouldn’t eat because she did know who cooked them.

Mama watched her soap, “As the World Turns” religiously. She didn’t plan anything while her soap was on.

“What if the bus to heaven came by while ‘As the World Turns’ is on?’ we’d ask.”

“I’d ask if there was a later bus,” Mama would say.

She read the National Enquirer every week. When she would start telling something she had heard, we’d ask if she got that from the Enquirer and she laugh. Many times she did.

Mama played golf, worked crossword puzzles and the daily cryptoquote. She talked on the telephone so often and so long that Daddy called her “Ma Bell.” She raised a pig to a hog every year to get her Christmas money and waited on Daddy like he was a king. She thought if the doors to the church opened, she was supposed to go through and if a Billy Graham crusade was on television, we were to watch it.

I could write a book about Mama and some day I will. I’ll write about Mama’s funny side and her soft side. I’ll write about the outhouse roses we picked for Mother’s Day – red if your mother was living and white if she had died. I was happy to pick a red rose for me. I didn’t ever want to have to wear a white rose. I could not think about my life without Mama it in.

So, this Mother’s Day, I’ll do as I have for 20 years, I’ll  pick a pink rose for me because Mama still lives in my heart.

Sunday is Mother’s Day and I quote Lewis Grizzard, “Hug your mama. I sure wish I could hug mine.”