Monday, July 31, 2006

Thinkin' 'bout things

We always called my mother “Mama.” I can’t imagine calling one’s mother, “mother.” That always sounded cold to me.

The women of my childhood who were called “Mother” by their kids were the kind of women who were a little uppity in my child’s eye. They were the kind of women who looked like Beaver Cleaver’s Mother. Not my Mama.

Mama was a scrappy little midget. I was as tall as she was by the time I was ten. She wasn’t what she would have called “tray chick” at all. Bless her heart. ( Southern women say, “Bless her heart,” about every other sentence.) Mama wore her hose rolled down to her ankles when no one was visiting. Don’t even pretend you know what I mean when I say that.

Mama wore housedresses (is that still a word?) all the time when she was at home, and stockings with garters. Panty hose had not been invented. To save the nylons from getting runs, and I guess the garters were uncomfortable, she rolled her garters down and ended up with stockings on her feet with little donut-stocking covered ankles. That Mama. Pretty silly looking. Bless her heart.

When folks were visiting and then they left, the last thing Mama would say to them as they drove off is, “Y’all come.” Sometimes it was, “Y’all come, ya hear?” Even if it was just one person who was leaving. Damnyankees misunderstand that. They think that southerners say “y’all” to just one person. But it always means “all of you.” So when Mama said “y’all come” she was saying, “I hope you and your family come to see us.” The “You hear,” part is just added emphasis meaning, “I really mean it.”

How ‘bout calling your father, “Father?” I never knew anyone who called their daddy, “Father.” We called our father, “Daddy.” Women in the south when I was comin’ up would refer to their husbands as, “the children’s father.” Actually the lesser-educated ones would say, “my baby’s daddy.” Mind you, these women were married to their baby’s daddy.

When you call kids to dinner in the north they’ll yell, “Just a minute!” We answered a call to come with, “drect-ly.” One day in the seventh grade a boy named Paul turned to me and said, “Did you know that “drect-ly” is really the word “directly”? I told him, “Nope. Who’dthunkit?” It was a revelation to me. We had been saying to our mothers “I will be there directly,” when we said drect-ly. I always thought it meant, “Yeah, yeah. I hear ya.”

Well, I’m done with thinkin’ about my childhood in the south. I’m fixin’ to go to bed now.

Y’all come back now. Ya hear?
Bless your hearts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Happy Birthday to Our Grandtwins!

Happy 16th birthday to our darling granddaughters!

They can now learn to drive. Yea! Oh! Wait....

Monday, July 10, 2006

Don't Get Me Started

I told Sar of Belle of the Brawl not to get me started on public restrooms, but she did anyway. Why the hell do they call them REST rooms? They aren't restful at all!

You know when you have to visit a public women's restroom, you usually find a line of ladies, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, and you actually get inside the darn door to the place, you check for feet under the stall doors. Yep. Every stall is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. WTF? It doesn't matter. You gotta go.

The dispenser for the modern "seat covers" (invented by someone's Mama,no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there were one, but there isn't - so you carefully but quickly drape it around your darn neck, (My Mama would turn over in her grave if I put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance." If you're female, you know the drill.

In this position our aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance."

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mama's voice saying, "Well, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!" Your thighs shake more. That Mama. The older I get, the smarter my Mama seems.

You remember the tiny Kleenex that you blew your nose on yesterday -the one that's still in your purse. That will have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn't work. Someone whose Mama didn't teach them to check for feet under the door. Those unfit Mamas. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. "Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping that precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down plop onto the dreaded TOILET SEAT. It is wet of course. Those other women!

You shoot straight up, knowing all too well that it's too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.

Mama would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, I'm positive, absolutely certain, that her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, "You can catch all kinds of horrible, ugly, disgusting diseases from a public toilet." (Mama always screwed up her face real good when she said this.)

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose that somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too. At that point, you give up. What's the point of pretending?

You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, or probably they're broken, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel, if there are any towels. Which there probably aren't. Sometimes there's a drinking fountain outside that you can wet your hands on.

As you leave the facility, a kind soul at the end of the line waiting to use the bathroom tells you that you have a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you NEEDED it??)

You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman's hand and tell her sweetly, "Here, you just might need this." No one tells you that you purse looks nice hanging around your neck like that but finally you notice it as you're walking around feeling dirty.

See guys? This is why women go to the bathroom in pairs.

It's so you have a friend to hold the damn door that won't lock, hang onto your purse, and hand you Kleenex under the door.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America

Not perfect, but a work in progress.