Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mama?

I've added weights to my twist board exercise routine and so I'm going to try to post without using any numbers, symbols or sentences that require exclamatory punctuation found on the top row of the keyboard as that would require me to straighten out my arms and, well, I'd rather not.  In this particular post, I'll also try to avoid using percentages, dollar amounts, or equations so that should completely eliminate any arm strain.


So, something happened, Sunday morning, that is probably pretty relatable for most of us, ladies.  We got to church a little late as "spring forward" Sunday is always a bit more challenging than all of the other Sundays of the year.  Half of our clocks were right and half weren't and we were just off our game.  We got there and were making our way across the parking lot when I spotted my friend, Susan, in the distance.  Susan is always a ray of sunshine....just one of my favorite people.  I hadn't seen her in a while so we exchanged waves and shouted a few greetings back and forth over the parked cars.  It was SO cold and my bare legs hanging out of the bottom of my dress simply wouldn't allow me to stop and visit.    


I continued on toward the church doors with my family when Carson pipes up, "Mom, you sounded like Grandma just then."  I knew it.  The thought had already crossed my mind right after I spoke and Carson had just verified my suspicions.  I don't know.  It was something about my wording and the fact that my mother's voice is kind of shaky and cracks when she tries to talk loudly like, say, across a parking lot and, well, mine does that, too.  Anyway, it was almost enough for me to want to look between all the cars calling, "Mama?" 
   
Most of you, ladies, can relate to the fact that your mother's voice can come out of your mouth at any given time and without one minute of advance notice.  You don't know how she got in there but you knew, when the words left your tongue, it was her.  You could hear it clear as a bell.  Your mother's voice projecting from your mouth.....like she was the ventriloquist and you were her little puppet. 


I'm not sure how old I was when I first heard her voice replace mine but it's happened on countless occasions.  More and more as I get older.  Sometimes, it's the choice of words that does it.  Other times, it's the whole package....the tone, expression, and delivery and, the first time it happens, well, it can be frightening for a daughter.  Not because it's such a bad thing but because you always knew you'd never become your mother.


 
I suppose it's bound to happen to all of us sooner or later.  I mean, is there any other voice you heard more than your mother's during the first 20 years of your life?  That kind of repetition has got to have some programming capabilities.  You start to sound like her and use her phrases. I thought of some of the things that my Mama told me and some she still tells me.  A few of them, I find myself repeating to my children with little evidence to back them up besides, "Your Grandma said".

- You need to eat something with that pill or you'll get ulcers.


- Go dry your hair or you'll get sick.....and put some socks on those cold feet. 


- Don't use sponges in your kitchen. They're full of bacteria. 


- At least once a week, you need to raise the windows and let fresh air in your house.
   
- You have to watch them at the grocery store.  They have one price on the shelf and charge you another one at the checkout. 
 
- You can pick up all sorts of germs in a filthy public restroom. 


- Always take a can of Lysol with you to a hotel.

- One day, I'll be gone and you're going to wish you'd paid attention when I was trying to teach you this.
 
- If you're bored, I have plenty you can help me do.
 
- As soon as you get out of a bed, make it up.  Do the hospital corners like I taught you.


- Always check the expiration dates at the grocery store.  And never get the one in the front.  Everyone's touched that one and that's where they put the old stuff. 


- Don't drink milk if you have fever. 
 
- Reading in low light will damage your eyes as will sitting too close to the TV. 


- You don't want your meringue to look like dog slobber.  Beat it until it has firm peaks. 

- The dryer is so hard on your stuff- it will just ruin your clothes.


- If you'll just iron a few things a day, it won't pile up like this.


- Always look in your backseat before you get in your car. 


- I'm going to close this door so your brothers don't catch what you have. 

- Don't forget to tell them you enjoyed it when you get up from the table and that you had a good time when you leave. 
 
- Quit turning that light on and off -you'll start a fire.


-  Don't rub your eyes, you'll get wrinkles.
 
- Turn off that television.  I can't hear myself think. 
 
- I don't care what Melissa's mother lets her do.  


-  One day, you'll have a family of your own and you'll need to know how to do this.        
  
- Never leave your house in a mess when you go somewhere. ( I always felt this was kind of ominous.  I suppose it was in case you never returned.  Bereaving guests finding out you're not only dead but also a slob would only serve to compound the tragedy)


I'm sure you have a list of your own.  Things you've heard your mama say a thousand times and when she starts the sentence, you can finish it for her like a pro and maybe even in her voice and tone, too.  Mothers are very influential.  They get in our heads and eventually start oozing out of our mouths. 


I'm beyond blessed in that department.  I could stand to emulate mine more.....not just in the way I sound or the way my voice projects or the sayings I use but in all aspects of my life.  My Mama's a beautiful soul.  I don't think I've ever met anyone as kind and pure in heart as her.  She loves with all of her being......with everything she has to give.  And quietly.  She wants nothing for herself.....just making someone else's life better is what makes her happy.  She's a whole lot like Jesus. 


So, I guess if my cracking voice and litany of expressions had to come from someone, I'd definitely want it to be from someone like her.  If I ever open my mouth and my mother comes out, I know I'm doing something right.




Happy Wednesday! 






  


    





Sunday, March 12, 2017

Deposits in the Ol' Memory Bank

Last Thursday, I'd had a long day at work and was officially not in the mood to cook that night.  I decided eating out was our destiny for dinner.  The weather was so nice and we opted to get a table outside at Newk's and everyone began to give a summary of their day.  Carson had his second golf game or meet or whatever you call a golf competition between schools.....so we definitely needed to hear about that.  Blair gave us an account of her sales day on the road.  Davis had been out of town working and I spent the day putting new merchandise out at the stores.  We were enjoying a nice evening meal together when I thought I spotted one of Blair's former teachers far off in the distance.  Blair turned around and verified that it was, indeed, her.  Just the sight of the teacher immediately brought to her mind an embarrassing memory. 


She was in this lady's class in elementary school and, one day, Blair was asked to come up and work something on the board. She got up and, on her way to the front of the class, a pair of her panties fell out of the leg of her pants.  You know how, sometimes, when clothes come out of the dryer, they get caught up in each other.  Well, it must have been Blair's unlucky day because, on the way to the board, the darn static cling decided to release its grip and a pair of her stowaway panties fell out right there on the floor. Of course, everyone giggled.  What elementary child wouldn't?  Sadly, the teacher even giggled instead of helping her out in the awkward situation.  I guess the only thing that could have made it worse would've been if my underwear would have come shooting out and, well, that would have really gotten some gasps going.  Even so, she was mortified and just recalling the experience made her cover her red face at the restaurant 14 years later.



That got me thinking just how long experiences stay with us.  Good or bad, some things affect us so much that just scratching the memory at its surface can make us feel flushed or crushed or a million different other ways.  It made me wonder why that is....why some moments stand out in our mind so.  Moments that are long gone and over and done.  Forgotten about by everyone else.  The good ones still have the power to give us a boost and the bad ones never seem to lose their potency to give us a punch in the gut.  Sometimes, out of the blue, an unpleasant memory can rear its ugly head and make us feel just as self-conscious or inadequate as it did so many years ago.  Like it just happened yesterday.     


Well, since we started out talking about Blair's unpleasant experience, I'll share one of her good memorable moments to counteract the underwear thing and to speak to the power of a positive memory.  One that comes to my mind would definitely be the vacation we took to Hilton Head and Savannah when she was about 11.  Well, we took a cooking class from Paula Deen while we were there and, lo and behold, she called Blair up to the front of the class.  Maybe it was so significant because she was at that awkward tweenager stage or maybe because she was singled out by someone she really admired.  I mean, after all, she watched her show all the time.  Every day.  Other kids her age were watching Nickelodeon and mine was tuned into the Food Network.  


Anyway, Paula called her to come up and she patted on her and played with her hair.  She complimented her and hugged and hugged and hugged her some more.  She asked her what she liked to cook and asked all kinds of 'get to know you' questions.  For about 15 minutes, Paula talked to Blair like she was the only other person in the world.  Like she didn't have anything else to do.  She turned a little red with intimidation but managed to carry on a delightful conversation with Paula even though she was obviously star struck.  




Well, she left there with all sorts of treats and autographs and recipes from Paula but the main thing she left with was an encouraging memory to store for her use later.  We all have a storehouse where we keep those and we can bring them out whenever we need them.  When we're feeling discouraged or insecure or just blue.  When life gets hard, we all have that place in our mind where we've saved up warmth and love and encouragement from the past that we can draw from when we need it.  It doesn't have to be from a celebrity.  We all have the potential to fill someone's memory bank with good.  Like the old saying goes.....we never forget how a person makes us feel when we're around them. 


Whether we like to admit it or not, our past experiences travel with us to the very end of the road.  Some can poke at our insecurities......leaving our panties in a wad right there on the floor for everyone to see.  Others can light a beautiful spark in our eyes......and inspire us to grow into a wonderful cook.  We have the power to do either of those things for each other.       


If you make good deposits in others' lives, they'll get a lot of return for your investment.   




Y'all have a good Monday! 




 


                   

Monday, March 6, 2017

Out With the Old

Well, I didn't intend to be gone for so long but, last week, I felt like a hamster on a freshly greased wheel.  I had so much work and other commitments waiting on me when we got home from our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and I have been non-stop ever since.  John Samuel was also home all week for his Mardi Gras break from school so I enjoyed having all 3 of my kids going in and out for several days.  Oh, and don't let me forget the week long preparation for the garage sale we had on Saturday.  Well, let me rephrase.....the garage sale that Blair, Carson, and John Samuel had on Saturday.  My body's clock doesn't really run on garage sale time and Davis didn't want to haul all the stuff out of the attic and so we told them if they'd handle it, they could all split the money and, I must say, they did quite well for themselves
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Our attic was getting ridiculous.  Surely, you have a space like that.  Whether it's a basement or attic or storage building, there needs to be a purging every now and then.  Well, for us, when we don't know what to do with something, it gets sent to the attic.  It's kind of like a place of waiting for our stuff.  It's where things go that we're not ready to trash but we don't want to have to look at it while we work through the process of letting go.









Because I know you're deeply curious about my attic, I'll give you the layout.  I have the kids' old toys and books up there on one side.  I'm very sentimental about those and keeping them, hopefully, for our future grandchildren.  There was a whole section devoted to containers and supplies for decorating weddings/parties.....which I haven't done in 7 years so that section was becoming irrelevant.  There were all the things from Davis' office that were sent up there after he retired.  There is a big box of trophies, plaques, and medals up there....some of them -participation trophies as my children are from that era.  What's a mother to do with those?  There was the stuff from Blair's college days of dorm and apartment living.  Carson had some hobbies and interests that have fallen off his radar and those things were up there.  Of course, there are all the seasonal sections.....Easter, fall, Christmas and summertime/beach/camping must haves.  It was basically becoming a hot mess and it was time to separate the wheat from the chaff.  I couldn't think of a better time to do it than the week that John Samuel and Carson would both be here to get it all down.










We went through things and sorted and priced and laughed and formed quite a pile for the trash man. There were things that reminded us of different times and seasons.  Some things that seemed so important when we got them were just in the way now.  Most had served their purpose for a particular period but had since turned insignificant to us.  Some things we'd just outgrown.  Other things, well, we'd just changed and they weren't wanted anymore.  It's funny how time can do that. 
 
On the heels of our silver anniversary trip, I was thinking how in the first 25 years of marriage, we leave our parents.  The next 25, our parents start to leave us.  The first 25, we spend bonding with our children.  The next 25, our children are breaking away from us.  The first 25 years, we're busy acquiring things.  The next 25, we spend getting rid of things.  The first 25, we want to hurry things along.  The next 25, we scramble for ways to slow it all down.
    


I'm in the middle of this cycle of life.  Blair will move out on her own this summer and get married in the fall.  When she left for college, I always knew in the back of my mind that she'd be back home for summer breaks and Christmas vacations and maybe to get on her feet after graduating.  But, I know when she leaves this time, it will be for good.  And, oh, how I've enjoyed having her here for the last 10 months.....as a friend.  Carson will start his senior year in high school in the fall.  My baby.  I don't even know where the time went with him.  He'll be headed off to college before we know it.  And those are all really good things.  Wonderful things.  But, sometimes, even wonderful things pull at a mama's heart.
   


Just like there's no reason to hold onto the old things that we squirrel away in the attic, it's useless to try to hold onto any moment in time.  It's always moving.  Always changing.









But, there are new moments to come.









New seasons.










Filled with new joys.






 






Y'all have a good one!