Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

So, big brother and Blowfuzzy von Sassy and I got you those two big Hillbilly-foot planters with the banana-peeling thumby big toes. When you have recovered from the installation of your aftermaket set of knees this week, we'll pick out the perfect plants for these and I'll get them all set up for you.

You're an incredibly dear person and I have learned (and am still learning) much from you. I remember you teaching me how to spot the really fine fabrics on a rack of dozens of bolts at Hancock's in West Memphis. I think I must have been about 8 or 9. You said "feel this. Feel how this seems warmer than the other fabrics? This is silk." You told me not to look at the prices of fabric to judge quality, but to consider the weave, the feel, the way the fabric drapes and to consider its suitability for the garment to be made. Now, flipping through racks of clothing, my eyes and hands go right to the better fabrics because you taught me to use those senses to judge the fibers and construction. On that note, you made so many incredible clothes for us that were impeccably wrought. Perfectionism is a brutal taskmaster, though, and I also remember you ripping out a sleeve to re-pin and sew again until the fabric was perfectly joined. All of the garments I have saved from my younger years were made by you, and no, I didn't just save them to prove I had a 20" waist once. They are beautifully made and will always be precious to me.

Dad always speaks with great pride about how impeccably turned out his children always were. We'd go to visit relatives and cousins would be snotty, unkempt, and he said his babies always looked like little dolls. He said you would scrub us within an inch of our lives and we sparkled like little jewels, all sweet and clean and dressed in nice clothes you'd made. I can always tell that Dad is very proud of the care and fussing you've always done over us. Have I ever thanked you for being so bossy and making me brush my teeth? 45 years running, and I still haven't had a cavity yet. Thanks for no cavities, Mom!

Dad also told me how dazzled he was by your beauty. He said he was working at a garage in Hardy once, and you came to see him and he was putting things away for the day. You were wearing white short shorts ( I note with interest you would not in a million years have allowed me to wear short shorts, Mom, and yes, I thank you for that, too) and he said you started helping him around the shop so he could get out of there. He said those shorts were filthy by the time you got out of there, and I couldn't quite figure out how to ask Dad if they were dirty from handprints. Anyway, an uncle happened by and as you were looking away, that uncle gave dad a grin and a thumb's up. It's always nice when one's family approve of one's choice of spouse!

You and Dad set a very high bar in the cleverness sweeps. You're a brilliant match and you both have an uncanny way of remarking on the world and its goings-on. You banter better than Nick and Nora Charles ever did. You obviously think enough alike to have similar views on most things, and you think differently enough that you can still surprise and delight each other with pithy observations. I think you two are probably to blame for everyone I meet thinking I'm flirting with them, because I learned the art of playful conversation. [That, or, well, I'm a flirt.]

There was the time when I was 4 and we were living in a duplex in Memphis and the mentally ill lady next door sent her little kids out with diaper pins and told them to poke me and big brother in the eyes with them. That was very unsettling, the way you took those diaper pins and went tearing out of the house for a reckoning. You have always been so ladylike, so that was an alarming about-face, and I'll never forget hiding in the house and then chancing a peek out the front door, neighbors looking on as you and the crazy lady cartwheeled around the yard, you having unleashed your inner scrapper with all the hellfire that entails. I shut the door quickly, frightened. This was very strange and I didn't realize until well into adulthood that you'd dished out a serious helping of ass-whooping. You came into the house soon after, shut the door and leaned on the kitchen counter, head facing down, your fists at your temples. Then you uttered disgust as your right fist disgorged an impressive wad of the other lady's hair (I'll bet she still has a bald spot). I also learned a lot from the way you were kind to that lady in later times, and tried to be a help to her. You forgave her and seemed to feel obliged to help her. You taught by example in that way and in too many other ways to name here. You showed that one must fight when compelled, that forgiveness is the gift to the one who forgives, and that when you have an opportunity to help someone, you should do so without prejudice and without expectation of compensation.

You are a decent person with an incredible work ethic. You are contemplative and don't blame others for what you do. You have an ability to keep your mouth shut which would call into question my parentage, as I'm a famous blurter. That I was your baby girl could not be questioned, though, as I clearly look a great deal like you, happily (except that I'm sure I would never have looked as fabulous in hotpants as you obviously did!).

So, thanks for everything, Mom. I love you, and I'm so very, very proud of you and your adorable big toes. :)

**Photo taken May 28, 1965, wherein Mom was about 5 months pregnant with yours truly. :)


Keads said...

A wonderful tribute! They sound like people I would like to meet. Happy Mothers Day to your Mom!

Matt G said...

I love this.
You're a good daughter, friend.