Monthly Archives: February 2010

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.

My parents invited me to the farm to eat fish for lunch with them and my grandmother. True to form, it was great food. Also typical was my mother’s incessant chatter while we ate. I timed it perfectly and arrived as the fish was coming out of the fryer. I grabbed a beer and sat at the table.

Sadie: “Everything looks good. Don’t you think it looks good? I think it looks good. I haven’t tasted it yet. I’m still getting mine ready. How’s yours, Mother? Is your good? John? Yours o.k.? Corey?”

Me: “I haven’t tried it yet.”

Sadie: “Well, if it tastes as good as it looks; it’s going to be great. Do you need some catchup, Mother? These fries look great. We should do them like this more often. There are plenty of hush puppies over here. Do you want another hush puppy, Mother? John, there are plenty of hush puppies. They have corn in them. Corey, I know you don’t like corn.”

Me: “I like corn.”

Sadie: “You like corn? I thought you didn’t like corn. Are you sure you like corn?”

Me: I don’t like bananas.”

Sadie: “Bananas? You don’t like bananas? I thought it was corn. Well, these have corn in them. They were buy one get one free. I think they’re good with corn in them. Did you want another hush puppy, Mother? These English peas look good, too. I always thought English peas just went great with fish. Did you get enough peas? John? There are more peas over here. You didn’t want any, Corey? There’s plenty right here. Wow. There is a little much garlic in this dressing for my taste. This is new garlic ranch. There is a lot of garlic in this. Mother, did you get enough salad? There are more dressings over there.”

Dad: “So Coco, I have a question for you and I’m not sure how you’re going to answer so I’ve been sort of sitting on it.”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “I’ve had all these invitations to join Facebook. If I join, would you be my friend?”

Sadie: “I don’t think that’s a good idea, John. Facebook? You’re a little past that.”

Me: “Whatever, Mom. There are people older than him on Facebook. Dave Burgess is on there. Can’t let the other Presbyterian preacher get ahead of you…”

Dad: “That’s who is asking me to join, other preachers in the Presbytery. So, would you be my friend?”

Me: “I don’t care. It’s not like you don’t know everything I do anyway. The stuff I don’t tell you, people who read my Facebook tell you. You’d might as well read it for yourself. I wouldn’t be Mom’s friend, so if you leave yourself logged in and she can figure out how to get on there and read all my crap then no, but I don’t care if you’re on there.”

Sadie: “I’m not doing Facebook. You don’t have to worry about that. There’s plenty of fish over here. Oh, I didn’t see that big piece under there. Is that bass? That must be the bass. This bream is good. You need to get out there and catch some more fish, John. When are you going to start fishing again?”

Dad: “Is 2:30 this afternoon soon enough?”

Sadie: “Mother, do you want some more fish? There should be enough here for the boys to eat later. Do you want me to box this up and you can take it home for the boys to eat? I think they would eat this. They love fish. I don’t know if they would eat these hush puppies since they have corn in them. Do you want to take this home? Why don’t you just leave it here and they can have it for dinner this afternoon when they come over. If they don’t want it then you can take it home tonight. I think they’ll eat it. Don’t you?”

Me: “That’s fine. Leave it here. They’ll eat it. I don’t feel well. I’m going home to lie down. Thank you for lunch. Love you, Mamie. Bye, Dad. Bye Sadie.”

I drove home. After about two minutes the boys came home. The first thing they both said was “I’m hungry.” Sigh. Wish I had that fish. A text came in from my mother that read, “since pretty u can bring them earlier if u like don’t know when home from kips can text before they come.” I respond with a text that read, “They are home now.” She responded with a text that read, “Since pretty they can come whenever know u don’t feel good whatever u want and they want.” I reply with “they are eating lunch right now.” You guessed it. In came a text. It began, “sorry didn’t send fish thought they eating there…” At this point, I just closed my phone and set it on mute. The fish really was good, but I’m not sure they were worth all the talking.

***Chatter about Curves (whether it would stay open, who should buy it, how it should be run and whether or not old people could handle it) and why college photos are used in obituaries when someone dies in their 90s along with a few other choice items were omitted in the interest of time and my sanity.

Top Ten Ways to Get Me to Close You on eHarmony

10. Misspell the name of your hometown on your profile.

9. Respond to the Three Things You Are Most Thankful For with “My kids, my iPod and sex.”

8. The number one thing you can’t live without is “beef steak.”

7. You are most passionate about “Eco-Nomos-Axion” and some additional information you want me to know is “my BBS occasionally…. it is unique….you got to crazy love it or absolutely hate it…”

6. You have too many pictures available including one of you and your daughter getting ripped at a bar and one of you from 2003 when you wore a mullet (and you misspell mullet when sharing your obvious pride in the photo caption).

5. You claim to be on eHarmony to meet people because “it’s not safe to drink and drive anymore” and in your profile picture you are holding a large piece of bacon.

4. Some additional information you want me to know is you are not allowed to drive.

3. When asked how you spend your leisure time you respond “It’s hard to say.”

2. You say the first thing people notice about you is “People tell me I come across very confident but I’m not sure about that.”

1. The one thing you are most passionate about is “tractor pulls,” you can’t live without “the scent of diesel fuel and Oscar de le Renta perfume” and your profile picture was taken with your prized 1985 Trans-Am that you have named Munch.

Real Mother

I was watching TV. Scout walked in just as a commercial for The Locator came on.

Scout: “I hope to find my real mother one day.”

Me: “I am your real mother.”

Scout: “Yeah, nice try, but I’m not buying it.”

Me: “Speaking of not buying it, that DSi you want for your birthday? If I’m not your real mother, I’m not buying that.”

Scout: “Fine. You can be my real mother.”

Seat Belts

My truck was in the shop being repaired after a break-in. So, I loaded the boys into the farm truck to go to school.

Dozier: “Wow. You don’t see these on the road anymore.”

Me: “It’s a 1992 Isuzu Rodeo. Rachel drove this at law school. It’s not that old. Put your seat belt on.”

Dozier: “This thing actually came with seat belts?”

Me: “Do you want to live through the day?”

Dozier: “I’ll be fine. The school’s close. You’d hardly have time to plot. Besides, I think I could take you.”

Valentine’s Day

Dozier: “Mom may be irritable since it’s Valentine’s Day.”

Scout: “She may be stressed cause they smashed the back window out of the truck. Then that guy pulled out in front of us and my Pringles went everywhere.”

Dozier: “And she has to buy all new stuff. You know she hates to shop.”

Scout: “I still don’t get why a guy would steal ladies underwear. Especially Mom’s.”

Me: “Seriously? I’m in the car. I can hear you.”

Mid-Life Crisis

Scout: “Are you in a mid-life crisis?”

Me: “No.”

Scout: “Have you already had your mid-life crisis?”

Me: “No.”

Scout: “Are you ever going to have a mid-life crisis?”

Me: “Not planning on it.”

Scout: “Dad had a mid-life crisis.”

Me: “Really?”

Scout: “Yeah. In fact, he had two of ‘em.”

Muddy Water

She stood in the shower supporting most of her weight with her head leaned against the cold shower wall. What was left of the hot water trickled down her back and swirled around her feet. Her eyes almost blurred as she stared at the shower curtain liner in front of her. The places where water had been absorbed into the coarse fabric made designs that reminded her of ink blots. She wondered what her interpretation of them would say about her sanity. Sanity really was overrated in her opinion. Everyone seemed to function within their own definition of reality.

She was tired. Her son had politely waited until she had gone to bed just after one to begin expelling the contents of his stomach. She hated it when her child was ill. There was a sense of helplessness about it. Not only did she hate that she could not help him, but she dreaded the inconvenience it would cause her. She didn’t mind washing multiple sets of sheets, or cleaning vomit from the floor where he had just missed the toilet. It hardly even fazed her that she had never gone to sleep. But she needed to work and that would require owing her mother. Her mom was always more than happy to help out. As a germaphobe, she would arrive at the door with a hospital mask on her face, but at least it was someone free to watch her son. Well, monetarily it didn’t cost her.

As she dried her hair and began to put on a little makeup she started thinking about how she got to this place. It started as going through a mental list of what her son had eaten, who he had been in contact with and all the things that could explain his ailment. Then it turned to every decision she had made that had lead her to be a single parent who would walk out on a sick child to go to the office; afraid to miss too much; afraid that she may not be able to provide for her family. She wondered about the age old question: if you could go back and do it differently, would you?

She tried to pinpoint a single decision that could have been changed that would have somehow made her life different. But each time she thought she had found the perfect one, she would realize that the decision had stemmed from her attitude or level of confidence or feelings of rebellion; not as an innate quality but as a result of a previous choice. Before long she was back in her childhood pondering alternative outcomes to clearly irrelevant factors. There was no clear winner, no obvious screw up. Well, there were obvious screw ups, but there was more than one.

As she put away her makeup, she heard the sound of liquid hitting the hardwood in the next room. Before rushing to clean up the mess, she glanced back at her reflection. The eyes she saw were those of her high school eyes; eyes that had no deeper worry than who she would sit with in the lunchroom. She had not lost her dreams. She had not cast her aspirations to the wayside. She was certain that one day, she would find her fulfillment. She would reach the greatness of which she was capable.

A few moments later she looked beyond the railing of the bridge out into the murky water. It had rained all night and the lake was like a pool of mud. It was fitting, in a way, for the water to be so twisted with dirt and sand. It fit her mood. As she took a drag off her cigarette and pressed the accelerator, a smile crossed her tired face. She knew in a few days the water would once again be beautiful blue. The sun would shine down on it and the fish would roll and jump and make the water dance again.