Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day 2010

Nearly 30 years have passed since we lost our mother.  Few days go by when I don't remember something, think about something, about mom.  I always need to ask her something.  She was always stingy about giving out any information, or would answer in roundabout puzzles that suggested you may as well give up.  She was not about to tell anyone one smidgen more than she thought she could get by with.  She has been gone with all her secrets intact and I think she still needs to tell us about many things.

Here are just a few things I remember her saying:
  1. When I did a hurry-up job mopping the kitchen floor, her words were "Do it over, and do it right this time."
  2. One of her favorite sayings was "It's time for all of us to go to bed," even though it was only 9:30 and even though I was 30 years old and visiting with all my kids.
  3. "If you don't quit squeezing your pimples, I'm going to paint your face with merthiolate."  Which she did.
  4. "Quit annoying the little kids."  Whatever.  They were plenty annoying to begin with.
  5. "If you don't hurry up and catch the schoolbus, you'll have to walk to school."  A mere distance of 12 miles.  I was forced one day to take off on my bicycle but it was freezing cold and I only made it four or five miles before I turned around and headed home, suffering from advanced frost bite and hypothermia and who knows what else.  Definitely child cruelty.
  6. "Did you wash behind your ears?"
  7. "You kids stop fighting."  It wasn't me.  It was my sisters.
  8. Wash your hands.  Scrape your shoes on the porch.  Don't track up the floor.  Make your bed.  It's time for breakfast.  It's time for lunch.  It's time for supper.  (not dinner.  We didn't do dinner).
And here are some situations where mom never said anything:
  1. When I lit up a cigar in front of her and dad when I got home from an FFA trip.  Three puffs and I was green and that was the last cigar I ever lit.
  2. When I got poor grades one year in high school when I was overinvolved in activities and got disgusting grades in chemistry and geometry.
  3. When I left home for the University of Wyoming, over 400 miles away, barely after my 17th birthday, with no money, no job, no prospects.  She never said, "You can't go.  You have no money.  You are too young to go off on your own.  You'll never make it.  You'll have to come home if you can't make it."  She just assumed I could figure out how to make it.  Which I did.  Eight years of college.
  4. When I was excluded from the Junior Honor Society in 8th grade because the battleship known as the principal thought I had a bad attitude.  Me?  A bad attitude?  I never had any idea.  I thought I was a good boy.  And my grades were among the highest in the class.
  5. She never told me I couldn't do something or try something.  Like school band.  Like school annual editor and paper editor.  Like FFA president.  Like having FFA sugar beet and calf and hog projects, though at great sacrifice to our meager family budget.
  6. She never really told me I should plan to go to college.  I merely decided early on on my own and she knew that.
  7. Nary a word after we went to Cody and painted the Cody "C" into a "P" for Powell way up over the Shoshone River.  The Cody Enterprise newspaper was outraged and threatened the hooligans from Powell, whoever they were.
  8. Actually there was more than just a solemn moment when I bought a 1939 Ford with green, yellow, and blue hubcaps from Earl's Super Service, where I worked at age 15 between my junior and senior years of high school.  My dad gave Earl a piece of his mind, and the car's transmission gave out in six weeks.  But for six weeks I had a blast.
  9. She never told me I couldn't make up new words for Church hymns, although there was a tense moment one day when I went in the house cheerfully singing the words to one inventive hymn, only to be informed by one of my sisters, "Shush, Grandma Wasden is in the living room."  I departed in haste.
  10. She never told me I wasn't allowed to spend my noon hours and supposed study hall periods in that den of profound iniquity, close to Sodom and Gomorrah, known as Funk's Pool Hall.  How I loved to shoot pool.
I have only begun to list the things Mom said and the things she didn't say.  The things she didn't say often had a more profound impact than her lectures, which, to say the least, were not timid or pussyfooting lectures, but straight to the point, and you had better get the point, because your life depended on it.  But I miss all of it, to this day and will until the day I die. 


Ann said...

What fun memories for a Mother's Day. She was strong in her beliefs and in her faith in her family. I think that is what makes even the difficult times seem possible - Mother never said we couldn't accomplish what needed to be done. She would just encourage us to get with it.
It is a welcome sight to see your writing on Penrose again. You have been missed, Dwight.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Dwight. This is poignant, to say the least. Memories come surging - one of Mother's phrases to me that still echoes in my ears is, "Do you have your undershirt on?" - This phrase still being said when I was a senior in high school. And she was still urging me to go to bed when I stayed the summer she had her cancer surgery. The upshot? She dearly loved her children, and would protect them at all costs.

Louise Blood said...

I loved this, Dwight, happy memories of Mother. And one of the questions that immediately came to my mind was the one about undershirts. Did we dare go without wearing one and we try to "lie" that we had one on? I don't think so. When Dwight "annoyed" Elizabeth and me when we were doing dishes and we would say "Mother, make Dwight stop bothering us" she would just smile and not take sides, which as I think back on it was very wise, because it helped us to work it out for ourselves. And it was the same for me as with Dwight with the band, she didn't question whether or not I could learn to play the French horn. I had a very special dream about her a few weeks ago that is quite personal. I told it to Judy, if any would like to hear it I will tell you.

Louise Blood said...

An afterthought: I know she is still watching out for us and wondering if we "have our undershirt on."

Judy said...

And at this point, I still will wear my undershirt AND brown stockings. I don't want to let her down.
Dwight is wonderful having your creative writing again.
Louise, please email your dream story. My kids are asking.